The City of London will host the 2024 Ontario Summer Games, with Western ready to roll out the welcome mat in collaboration with provincial and community partners.
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, made the announcement today at the North London Athletic Fields, with London Mayor Ed Holder and Christine Stapleton, director of Sport and Recreation at Western and chair of Tourism London.
“This is great news not only for athletes across Ontario but also for the City of London, who in 2024 will welcome back the top athletes across this province to its community,” MacLeod said. “The city’s world-class facilities, dedicated volunteers and experience hosting large-scale events make it a premier sport hosting destination.”
The province is providing up to $1 million in funding to support the event, which will be held August 1-4, 2024.
London last hosted the games in 2018, and was set to host the 2020 games, which were subsequently postponed until 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has now been rescheduled to 2024.
The 2024 Ontario Summer Games will be held in collaboration with Western Sport and Recreation and Housing and Ancillary Services – Conference Services. Venue selections are yet to be finalized.
“It’s an honour for Western to host these athletes and their families, and with thousands of people coming to London to stay in the hotels and explore the city, I think this will be one of the biggest events on the other side of COVID that Londoners can rally around,” Stapleton said.
“It provides a really important opportunity to show the entire province what a jewel London is, and what a fantastic venue Western offers, hosting a sporting event like this.”
With an estimated economic impact of $5 million on the host city, London Mayor Holder welcomed the news, noting the event’s importance in building community and hope.
“Sport has the power to inspire and unite,” Holder said. “We cannot wait for the Ontario Summer Games to come back to London and do both in 2024.”
Western has made significant investments in its facilities since hosting the games in 2018, including major construction on the stadium turf, track, lighting and bleachers. Upgrades to the Thompson Recreation Athletic Centre are starting soon.
The university has also enhanced its residences, which will once again house and feed the athletes, coaches and officials. It’s an opportunity that excites Cliff Fielder, conference manager, Western hospitality services, who oversaw the operations two years ago.
“We create this village experience, in which we encourage the athletes to interact with one another, dining and living together in our residences throughout the event,” Fielder said.
The 2018 games saw Western host 3,500 athletes in 21 sports in seven campus residence buildings. Six campus kitchens prepared 24,622 meals served over the four-day period, with 3,741 boxed lunches delivered to competitors at different sporting venues around the city.
“It’s a great opportunity for Western to showcase its residence facilities and all of its hospitality services as we welcome and encourage these young athletes,” Fielder said. “It’s also a great platform for Western to work with partners at Tourism London, the city and volunteers from across the community.”
The Ontario Summer Games is the province’s largest multi-sport event for athletes ages 12 to 18, drawing more than 3,000 competitors from across the province. The event is hosted every two years.
The games provide an opportunity for athletes to develop their skills and experience high-level competition, with many athletes using the experience to prepare for national and international competitions.