HUNTSVILLE - If you happen to notice an increase in traffic around town or a full parking lot at your favourite sports facility today, don’t be alarmed.
The Rotary Cauldron sits in front of the Canada Summit Centre, signifying the official opening of the 2013 Ontario 55-plus Winter Games in Huntsville. The majority of the events will take place today.
More than 1,000 athletes, coaches and officials are expected to descend on Huntsville today, as competition for the 2013 Ontario 55-plus Winter Games gets underway. The official opening ceremony was hosted at Deerhurst Resort last night, and the majority of the sports will be played at various venues today, starting at 8 a.m., lasting until 5 p.m.
Alpine skiing will be held at the Hidden Valley Ski Area; badminton is slated for Riverside Public School; curling will be co-hosted by the Huntsville and Gravenhurst curling clubs; Chartwell Select-Muskoka Traditions in Huntsville will be the site for duplicate bridge play; hockey will be played at the Canada Summit Centre and the Baysville arena; the Baysville arena will also be the home for prediction skating; Arrowhead Provincial Park will be the location for Nordic skiing; St. Andrews’ Presbyterian Church will feature table tennis; and volleyball will be played at Huntsville High School as well as Huntsville Public. Barrie will host 10-pin bowling.
Myke Malone, the general manager for the games, said the organization for the three-day event has gone smoothly.
“It has been more than one year in the planning. The organizing committee started meeting last March and we have been meeting monthly. It has been a lot of hours in planning over the last year.”
He said the fact that Huntsville has hosted games like the winter championships in the past – the town has twice hosted the parasport winter championships and co-hosted the Ontario Winter Games in 2010 – gave organizers an edge in putting together the event. “I know with the Sport Alliance of Ontario and with the different sports groups that Huntsville is very well regarded in the sports community as being able to host events like this in a positive light.”
When asked if he thinks Huntsville will continue to be a popular choice as a host for such events like the senior winter games, Malone said he believed that is the case.
“We are a proven entity. It is just a time issue in hosting these events. We can’t always do them. You do have to time them so you are not getting volunteer fatigue. So they have to be timed strategically so they work well for the community.”
Malone also thinks that the reason why there are so many people projected to come here this week for the winter games is because the games are being seen by participants as a mini-vacation.
“They are coming here to get away for a few days. People are keen to come to Huntsville and it shows well with our numbers. We are also centrally located in the province and I would expect to see people coming back whether they are with their teammates or their family.”
For more information, visit www.ontario55pluswintergames.com.