Victoria was announced as host for the next 55+ BC Games; the first in 33 years to be held in the capital of the province.
The announcement for the September 2022 event was made at Government House’s Bruce Pavilion the morning of Sept. 28 by parliamentary secretary for senior services and long-term care Mable Elmore, Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday, Destination Greater Victoria CEO Paul Nursey and the president of the games Micheal O’Connor.
When more than 4,000 of the province’s older athletes arrive on the Island next year, “they’ll come to the park play,” O’Connor said. “There are 30 different sports, (and) we deliberately chose the most active ones.” They include basketball, dragon boat racing, equestrian events, mountain biking and archery as well as a number of lawn sports, to name some.
“It was actually staggering to us that the capital hadn’t hosted in 33 years,” Nursey said.
The games have typically been held in smaller communities in need of the economic benefit, explained Andrew Reeve, an athlete of the games since 2003 who was in attendance at the announcement.
Loveday said hosting the games can promote health and overall well-being while also creating economic prosperity. “We know that for the last year, some of these things that these games will promote and build have been lacking,” he said.
The 2017 55+ BC Games in Vernon, for example, supported a $2.3-million economic legacy according to its economic impact study. However, Nursey said undertaking the financial and fiduciary of the games does not come without risk. “2022 will be the year that everything’s gearing back up at the same time, and not all of the businesses in the tourism sector will be as viable as they were before the pandemic … so there is a bit of a risk on the sponsorship side,” he said.
There is an imminent need for sponsors and volunteers.
“To pull off games like this, you need a whole team of volunteers,” Loveday said. “Thankfully, our community is full of people who are generous and give their time to make this community a better place. I’m sure they’re going to step up.”
Of his 18 years competing in the 55+ BC Games, Reeve said the most important consideration for any host city is adequate hotel accommodation for thousands of athletes, some as old as 80, and accompanying spectators.
He and his wife, Dina, are both residents of Victoria seasoned in archery and track and field, respectively. Seeing old friends that they would not see any time otherwise is what keeps them coming back year over year.
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