London's Ontario Summer Games looking less likely this year, but organizers eye 2021

Organizers were still holding out hope as late as last week, but the 2020 Ontario Summer Games aren't looking likely for London in August.

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Organizers were still holding out hope as late as last week, but the 2020 Ontario Summer Games aren’t looking likely for London in August.

The Games, which the Forest City also hosted in 2018, were expected to bring about 3,400 athletes between the ages of 12 and 18 to the city to compete in 19 sports and athletic events during four days from July 30 to Aug. 2 and although they haven’t been scuttled officially, that appears to be the most likely outcome.

Zanth Jarvis, director of sports tourism, said Thursday the city is waiting for word from Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, on a final call.

“We have our hands tied because we are waiting on them to make a decision,” Jarvis said. “We are hopeful that the Games could still happen; however, with everything that is going on (with the coronavirus lockdown), we don’t think that’s going to happen. Ultimately it’s the province’s decision and we are going to follow their lead.”

Calls to MacLeod’s office weren’t immediately returned Thursday.


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Games general manager Dave De Kelver also expects the ministry to cancel this summer’s competition, but he is hopeful the work done by volunteers won’t go to waste.”We are obviously drawing close to the finishing line here where a decision has to be made and the ministry knows that and they’ve been working well with us to try to get to some conclusions, but we’re not quite there yet,” De Kelver said.

Jarvis said organizers have discussed the possibility of postponing the London Games – which are estimated to generate $5 million in economic activity – to next summer.

“The good news for us is we’ve done a lot of the groundwork and preparations so we are ready and able to go when we can,” De Kelver said. “I have a great set of volunteers on my committee and they’ve put in the work so that if and when we pick this up at a different time, we won’t lose any of the work we’ve done.”