Countdown officially begins for Ontario 55+ Summer Games

 

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis tries his hand at lawn bowling during official kickoff ceremonies for the upcoming Ontario 55+ Summer Games that are coming to Windsor and Amherstburg.

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis tries his hand at lawn bowling during official kickoff ceremonies for the upcoming Ontario 55+ Summer Games that are coming to Windsor and Amherstburg.

Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst attempts to put under the watchful eye of Lindsey Sinasac from Fox Glen Golf Club May 28. This was part of the official kickoff for the Ontario 55+ Summer Games coming to Windsor and Amherstburg Aug. 19-21.

Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst attempts to put under the watchful eye of Lindsey Sinasac from Fox Glen Golf Club May 28. This was part of the official kickoff for the Ontario 55+ Summer Games coming to Windsor and Amherstburg Aug. 19-21.

By Ron Giofu

 

The countdown clock has officially been set and with the final days being counted down until the 2014 Ontario 55+ Summer Games.

The games occur Aug. 19-21 in venues throughout Amherstburg and Windsor with Amherstburg venues including the Libro Centre, Fox Glen Golf Club, the Verdi Club, Toddy Jones Park, Centennial Park and Wigle Park. The opening ceremonies will be held at the Libro Centre.

Windsor venues include the Windsor International Aquatic Training Centre, the St. Clair College Sportsplex, Playdium Bowling, Parkside Tennis Club, the Windsor Lawn Bowling Club and Royal Canadian Legion Br. 594.

Representatives from Sports Alliance Ontario, the Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA),  Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis and Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst along with games participants, sponsors, volunteers and others joined together at Green Shield Canada last Wednesday morning to set the stage for the games. The kickoff featured live demonstrations of lawn bowling, golf, darts and pickle ball with those events being “a small sample” of the 18 sporting events that will take place in venues across Windsor and Amherstburg.

Co-chairs Calvin Little and Tim Beaulieu were enthusiastic about the Ontario 55+ Summer Games being right around the corner.

“We are very excited,” said Little. “We will be welcoming over 1,400 participants from across Ontario to Windsor and Amherstburg.”

Little said the committee and its volunteers are aiming to “leave a legacy” as they want to “make it the best games ever.” He believed they will offer a great experience to those who attend and noted that while they are here, participants will be encouraged to enjoy restaurants and other amenities in both Amherstburg and Windsor.

Beaulieu said the games are being presented by “an amazing effort of our volunteer organizing committee,” pointing out that committee has been meeting for two years. He said a total of 400 volunteers are needed to help run the games and encouraged those interested to sign up at www.ontario55plussummergames.com.

Erin Hamilton, manager of games and awards for Sports Alliance Ontario, also praised organizers, stating it has been over 650 days since the games were officially awarded to Windsor and Amherstburg.

“Without the countless hours they put in, these games would not have been possible,” she said.

Rita Chappell-Arsenault of the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s grant review team for this area announced a $68,500 grant to cover the cost of hiring a games co-ordinator while Gail Prior, president of the Ontario Senior Games Association, said participants are competing in their local districts hoping to qualify for a trip to Windsor and Amherstburg.

“Throughout the province, our members are eagerly participating in local games hoping to qualify for the Ontario 55+ Summer Games in Windsor and Amherstburg,” said Prior.

Beaulieu said the games committee received strong support from both host communities.

“Mayors and councils of both communities should be proud of their support of these games,” said Beaulieu.

“It was a great fit for both communities,” believed Hurst. “We are all waiting with expectation for these games to take place.”

Hurst congratulated organizers for their efforts, as did Francis. Francis said because of the efforts of organizers, they are attracting new visitors to the region.

“They are going to leave here with a positive experience,” predicted Francis.

The Ontario 55+ Games are two-days of competition that include sports such as golf, lawn bowling, slo-pitch, swimming, tennis, euchre, bocce, darts, cycling, bridge, shuffleboard, cribbage, walking and five-pin bowling.

Formerly known as the Ontario Senior Games, the Ontario 55+ Games are a celebration of active living uniting participants 55 and older in a multi-sport environment. Alternating yearly, both the summer and winter games showcase a variety of sports and activities while bringing communities together through the promotion of healthy living for all.

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