Mayor wants Winnipeg to host Canada Summer Games

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz wants the city to host the Canada Summer Games in 2017.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz wants the city to host the Canada Summer Games in 2017.

The executive policy committee, also known as the mayor's cabinet, voted Wednesday to bid on the event and set aside $3 million over a four-year period (from 2014 to 2017) to cover its share.

Another $20.7 million in operating and capital funding would have to come from the provincial and federal governments — $10.35 million each.

The total cost of holding the event is estimated at $26 million. The rest of the money outside of government funding would need to be raised by the bid committee through ticket sales, sponsorships and broadcast rights.

Bid committee co-chair Hubert Mesman said the capital portion of funding will go to improving facilities in the city.

"Upgrades to the PanAmerican pool [and] there's a requirement to upgrade the track at the University of Manitoba and a number of other facilities that will see a tremendous increase and improvement in the facilities and the services they provide," he said.

In January, Brandon lost out in its bid for the games, which brings together young athletes from across the country.

In addition to the 4,600 athletes, coaches and officials, the two-week event would also bring an estimated 20,000 out-of-province visitors to the city. It has the potential to generate over $130 million in economic activity within Winnipeg during that time, according to a news release from the mayor's office.

Winnipeg has until the end of April to submit its bid, which must first be approved by council next week.

The Canada Games Council last year opened a 15-month bidding process for Manitoba communities that might want to host the 2017 summer games — a high-level multi-sport event for amateur athletes that is held every two years in Canada, alternating between the winter and summer events.

It's Manitoba's turn to play host and no province has ever forfeited that role.

Although Winnipeg was somewhat forced into the running after Brandon's bid was rejected, Katz said the chance to get much-needed money to fix up facilities was one he couldn't pass up.

"From my point of view it's an opportunity you'd be foolish not to take advantage of," he said.

The 2017 Summer Games have special significance, as they will be held during Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations and mark the 50th anniversary of the games, the release from the mayor's office stated.

Manitoba last played host to the Canada Summer Games in 1997, when the games were held in Brandon.

Athletes taking part represent their province or territory.