Quebec will spend $1 million to assess whether its capital city can put together a bid for future Winter Olympic Games.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced the province's intentions at a news conference Monday morning at the Le Relais ski centre north of Quebec City, accompanied by Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume and federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Josée Verner.
Charest said $1 million left over from Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations last year will be spent by a new committee to evaluate the feasibility of bidding for the Games or other international sporting competitions.
Claude Rousseau, president of the Quebec Remparts hockey team, will head the committee, which will have a three-year mandate and will focus on the city's infrastructure needs for an Olympic event.
It is too early to say if the city will make a bid for the Olympics, or for what year, Rousseau said.
"I think the first step for us is really really important — to analyze the different infrastructures in place."
During the recent municipal election campaign, Labeaume announced plans to build a new $400-million arena, which would be key to an Olympic bid.
Quebec City failed in earlier bids for the 2002 and 2010 Games.
But Charest said there is no city better located or better prepared to host the Winter Games.
"It is an outstanding opportunity to be able to mobilize people around a magnificent project — one that will be very very exciting for young Quebecers in particular, that will attract investment, will attract people, will attract attention of the world to this magnificent part … of Quebec," Charest said.
Newspaper reports published on the weekend had suggested Quebec City was ready to announce its intentions to bid on either the 2022 or 2026 Winter Games.
Host cities for the 2022 and 2026 Games will be chosen in 2015 and 2019, respectively.