Canada’s pastime to take over downtown Windsor this weekend

Play On! street hockey festival. (Provided by Play On! Canada)

The game of hockey will occupy downtown Windsor this weekend.

The Play On! street hockey festival has named Windsor as one of the nine stops it will make across Canada this summer, and instead of vehicle traffic, street hockey rinks will be set up to celebrate Canada’s game.

This will mean street closures in downtown Windsor. Ouellette Avenue from Park Street to Riverside Drive will be closed until Sunday evening.

Organizers with Play On! Canada say that this summer’s tour is an excellent opportunity for hockey players to shake off the blahs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and allow players of assorted skill levels to enjoy the game in a friendly atmosphere.

“Sporting events like Play On! are critical in instilling a pride and sense of place while drawing visitation and spending to the Windsor area,” said Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, last month. “Building on these ‘snapshots of life’ through crowd-pleasing memories and immersive experiences provides dynamic opportunities for bringing spectators and participants together.”

When the event was held in London, over 4,000 participants showed up, and people spent money to support the local economy. According to a 2021 study by Brock University’s Centre for Sport Capacity, Play On! Canada’s sports festivals generate around $3.3 million in local GDP activity, with an average participant spending $514 on expenses tied to the event weekend.

The public is more than welcome to watch the action. A complete schedule of games can be found on the Play On! Canada official website.

—with files from Maureen Revait