Ontario 55+ Summer Games officially underway

 

Flagbearers file into the Libro Centre during opening ceremonies of the Ontario 55+ Summer Games Tuesday, August 19. The games run in both Windsor and Amherstburg through Thursday, August 21.

Flagbearers file into the Libro Centre during opening ceremonies of the Ontario 55+ Summer Games Tuesday, August 19. The games run in both Windsor and Amherstburg through Thursday, August 21.

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2014 Ontario 55+ Summer Games are officially underway.

The opening ceremonies took place Tuesday evening at the Libro Centre where buses filled with participants came to town to see the festivities begin. The games will see nine events in Amherstburg and nine more in Windsor take place through Thursday with other Amherstburg venues in addition to the Libro Centre include Fort Malden, Centennial and Wigle Parks, Fox Glen Golf Club, and the Verdi Club.

Participants from across Ontario watched as flagbearers representing the 43 regions that make up the Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA) marched into the indoor soccer facility after being led in by the “Diplomats” drum and bugle corps. Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex County Pelee Island (TWEPI), acted as master of ceremonies for Tuesday evening’s event and said there are 1,143 participants taking part in the Ontario 55+ Summer Games with thousands of meals and hotel rooms to be served and occupied respectively during the week.

“It’s a wonderful injection into the economy and the tourism industry appreciates it,” he said.

Cathy Vincelli, board member with Sport Alliance Ontario, thanked the roughly 400 volunteers that are helping to put the games on and also credited the participants for making it to the provincial competition.

“You have all worked extremely hard and we’d like to congratulate you on your accomplishments,” she told the participants.

“The wait is finally over. The OSGA and its members from all parts of Ontario are excited to be

taking part in these games,” added OSGA 55+ president Gail Prior. “We look forward to the friendly competition and the chance to renew old friendships and make new ones. Let the Games begin!”

Organizing committee co-chairs Tim Beaulieu and Calvin Little also credited the nearly 400 volunteers as well as their committee.

“Staging an event of this size, you can’t do it alone,” said Beaulieu.

Beaulieu said volunteers aim to present “games you will never forget,” adding “I couldn’t be prouder of the job they’ve done.”

Little noted while the games are competitive, the organizing committee wants participants to also have “a great social experience” and make lasting friendships during their time in Windsor and Amherstburg. They also hope that out-of-town participants will eventually return to the region for visits.

Mayor Wayne Hurst brought greetings from Amherstburg and credited Little and Beaulieu for doing “an outstanding job in putting this together.” He too praised volunteers for their efforts in staging the Ontario 55+ Summer Games as well as the participants for advancing to these provincial games.

“We appreciate you taking the time and making an effort to participate in the Ontario 55+ Summer Games,” said Hurst.

Windsor city councillor Ron Jones brought greetings on behalf of his municipality. He said it was “truly an honour” to be there.

“This, for me, is a wonderful moment,” said Jones.

Jones added the games are another example of Amherstburg and Windsor partnering.

“Windsor and Amherstburg have a long history of working together,” said Jones. “It makes me proud.”

For more on the Ontario 55+ Summer Games, visit www.ontario55plussummergames.com.

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