Ottawa readies 2021 Summer Games bid

Ottawa wants to put in a bid to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games, and become the largest city to ever host the event.

Ottawa would be largest host city since Games began in 1967

Newfoundland and Labrador's Kiley DeLong (left) and Ontario's Christine Exeter battle for the ball during womens soccer quarter finals at the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Summerside, P.E.I. (Peter Redman/Canadian Press)

Ottawa wants to put in a bid to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games, and become the largest city to ever host the event. 

A bid committee co-chaired by Ottawa Senators president Cyril Leeder and Olympic medalist Sue Holloway made its pitch Tuesday to the city's finance and economic development committee.

"This is low-risk, high-reward for the City of Ottawa," Leeder told councillors. Both he and city staff noted the Games usually come in on budget, often finishing with a surplus.

The Canada Games, which began in 1967, attract the country's top amateurs in a number of sports every two years, alternating between winter and summer events, with athletes representing their province or territory. The Games include a cultural element, and are combined with the National Artists Program.

City staff project a $43-million budget for the 2021 Games, with the city responsible for the equivalent of $10.5 million.

After Winnipeg's event in the summer of 2017, it's Ontario's turn to host. Should city council give final approval to put in a bid in January, Ottawa would be competing against Sudbury, Niagara Region, and Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge.

The winning bid should be announced in early April.

Sports facilities could see upgrades

Various recreation facilities would be used for the events, and many would get upgrades.

The bid committee foresees using the Terry Fox Athletic Facility at Mooney's Bay for track and field and rugby. Lansdowne Park and TD Place would host basketball, beach volleyball and soccer. Swimming and diving competitions would take place at the Nepean Sportsplex.

Orlé​ans Coun. Bob Monette asked if the bid team considered facilities in the city's east end. Leeder replied the bid focused on a compact cluster of facilities within a 30-minute drive of the proposed athletes' village at Carleton University, and pointed out the Canadian Tire Centre wasn't included either.

Holloway, who was part of Team Ontario during the 1971 Games in Saskatchewan when she was 15. said athletes would find Ottawa a great city to get around in the summer of 2021.

"I think if Ottawa is the selected city you're going to think you hit the jackpot, when you're going to be on this national stage in the nation's capital."