New date set for Ontario Summer Games in London

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of heritage, sport, tourism, and culture at the North London Athletic Fields on Adelaide Street North, July 31, 2020. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The Ontario Summer Games in London have officially been rescheduled for 2021.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism, and culture, announced on Friday the 2020 games will now be held next year from July 29 to August 1.

The new dates for play were made public on what would have been Day Two of the games had they not been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This weekend I planned on being here to watch some sports being played for the 2020 Ontario Summer Games,” MacLeod said while visiting the beach volleyball pits at North London Athletic Fields on Adelaide Street North. “We had to make a difficult decision a few months ago to say that [the games] would be postponed until a later date… Unfortunately, they won’t be held in 2020. But next year in 2021, a marquee year for the province of Ontario as we eye our economic recovery and we see the return of sports, we’ll see the London games being played here in 2021, welcoming over 3,000 athletes, their parents, their friends and their fans.”

MacLeod also stated that even though the games are being put off by a year, the province will still cover $1-million of the event’s $1.5-million operating costs.

Originally slated to be held in London on July 30 to August 2 2020, the multi-sport event is expected to draw roughly 3,400 teenage athletes, as well as coaches and officials to the city over a four day period. It’s estimated the economic impact of the event will be more than $5-million.

“The 2021 Ontario Summer Games give Londoners hope. I think they give all Ontarians hope and you have to plan for economic recovery. The announcement by the minister today does exactly that,” said Mayor Ed Holder. “It is not lost on us the financial impact, something over $5-million for our community.. it inspires, it unites, it gives us something to work towards as well. Because you can’t wait until next year and say ‘I think it is a good idea to host the games this year.'”

Both Holder and MacLeod reassured when the games are played next year appropriate public health guidelines will be followed.

Next year will be London’s fifth time hosting the summer games. They were previously held in the Forest City in 2018, 2004, 1996, and 1975.