Summer Games To Boost London Economy By $6M

Ontario Summer Games 2018 in London. (Photo courtesy of Ontario Summer Games official Twitter page).

The 2018 Ontario Summer Games exceeded the expectations of organizers in London.

The games ran from Thursday to Sunday at various locations across London and featured a total of 21 different sporting events.

This was London’s fourth time hosting the summer sporting event. The games were held in London in 2004, 1996, and 1975.

Bill Merrylees, chair of the London 2018 Ontario Summer Games, says this was the best year yet.

“London’s had a strong history and tradition of running fantastic events and we continue to improve what we do. These games were no exception,” he says. “We had a great organizing committee with a lot of experience and we really focused on the experience of the athletes.”

Merrylees says attendance was fantastic this year.

“We had 3,300 participants attend the games, plus their families and officials,” he says. “We estimated we had close to 10,000 people at the opening ceremonies on Thursday.”

He says over 1,000 volunteers helped the event run smoothly.

“They were so dedicated. The ages of our volunteers ranged from young people, all the way up to retirees. A lot of them committed a lot of hours,” he says. “We had a lot of volunteers working for 16-18 hours a day for the entire week and we could not have done that without them.”

Merrylees says you could see the excitement on the faces of the athletes as soon as they arrived.

“We’re really proud of how the participants conducted themselves and how they thanked volunteers. These are young athletes who perform at a high level. Many of these young people will go on to participate in university and college sport and amateur sports,” he says. “There were future Olympians in that field that night for the opening ceremonies.”

Merrylees projects the games will have a $6-million economic impact for London. He says any money left over from the games will be reinvested back into the city’s venues that will be used for its next summer games in 2020.

The chair says overall, the event really exceeded expectations.

*With files from Miranda Chant