Hamilton 100 proposes new sports complexes and big upgrades in bid for 2030 Commonwealth Games

Hamilton 100 wants to build new sports complexes, upgrade existing ones, and create affordable housing to get the 2030 Commonwealth Games. Its proposal goes before city council's general issues committee this week.

Hamilton hosted the first version of the games in 1930

Hamilton100 is proposing to build sport complexes and upgrade facilities in a 2030 Commonwealth games pitch. Pictured above are the 2014 closing ceremonies in Scotland. (Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The community group hoping to bring the 2030 Commonwealth Games to Hamilton is proposing the construction of three new multi-sport complexes, affordable housing, and upgrades to facilities across the city as part of its pitch to get the games.

The proposal by Hamilton 100, a group advocating for the city to play host, will go before city council's general issues committee on Wednesday. The document outlines its vision, the potential impact of the games, and includes details on venues and stakeholder interest. 

The document does not include any dollar figures. The 2030 games are an important anniversary, as Hamilton hosted the first version of the games in 1930,

The city gave a go-ahead to Hamilton 100 to come up with a vision, but hasn't committed to pursuit of the games. But deadlines are approaching for the city to decide if it is on board. 

Each Canadian city interested in hosting the games will have to submit Part 1 of their plans, which includes vision and a financial plan, to Commonwealth Games Canada by Nov. 22. 

And the costs to hold the games varies — Glasgow, Scotland spent around $300 million Canadian dollars when it hosted in 2014. Preliminary estimates for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia indicate a price tag of over $1.8 billion.

The cost to hold the 2022 games in Birmingham, England is expected to hit about $1.5 billion.

Brian MacPherson, CEO of Commonwealth Games Canada previously told Hamilton city councillors that the total cost can run around $1.5 billion. 

Here's how Hamilton 100 is suggesting the city prepares for the event. 

According to the proposal, the three multi-sport complexes proposed are within the city's 10-year sport development plan and will host badminton, squash, and table tennis during the games. 

The buildings would also range in size, with the biggest being large enough to fit eight basketball courts. 

Around half of the thousands of seats put in for the games would be retractable, allowing the centres to use them for regional competitions afterwards. The centres, each with meeting rooms, a weight room and physio room, would also be designed to offer a mix of courts for sports like basketball, volleyball or badminton. 

The three buildings include: 

  • The smallest building at 63,000 square feet with 960 retractable seats. 
  • A second building at 90,000 square feet with 1,400 retractable seats. 
  • A third centre at 98,000 square feet with 1,800 retractable seats. 

Hamilton 100 said they would "await direction from council" to determine where they would be built. 

FirstOntario — or its new replacement, depending on what city council decides — would host gymnastics. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

But some existing venues, like FirstOntario Place, currently meet the requirements for the Commonwealth Games. With debate happening at city hall on whether to build a replacement arena, the group says that option would work too. 

FirstOntario Centre, or its replacement, would host gymnastics, while a new convention centre — which is also being debated at city hall — would be used for boxing and as a de facto media hub, including the international broadcast centre and main press centre. 

'Almost' all glass beach volleyball pavilion and more

There are other proposed upgrades to venues across the city, regardless of whether a new FirstOntario Centre is ready or not. Some of them include: 

  • At Mohawk Sports park, permanent field hockey venues and a new recreational plaza and field house. 
  • At Gage Park, a new field house with permanent indoor tennis courts. 
  • At McMaster University, a 50-metre competition pool/outdoor tank under a coverall building, which will be converted into two 25 metre pools to be used in two new recreation centres.
  • In Eastwood Park, a concrete slab for 3x3 basketball, which can be flooded and frozen for community rinks come winter.
  • At Confederation Park, a shaded-glass pavilion for indoor beach volleyball, with large overhead doors to open during good weather. 

Hamilton 100 is also suggesting a massive overhaul to Bayfront Park. For the triathlon event, they propose to reshape Bayfront Park to allow for natural water movement to circulate. The group says this would "fully address" the green algae issue that has been plaguing its waters. 

The design would result in two islands, which would be connected with bridges. 

Hamilton100 proposes to reshape Bayfront Park into two islands to fix algae problems and allow for the triathlon event. Pictured above is the running loop. (Hamilton100)

"Opportunity" for affordable housing 

Part of Hamilton 100's proposal is to bring the games back to its beginnings. 

They said returning to Hamilton for the games' 100-year anniversary would be "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reflect on the origins and evolution of the games." The city hosted the first iteration of the games — then-called the British Empire Games — in 1930.

And part of this, Hamilton 100 says, is to use this "opportunity" to create affordable housing and support a "clean and green" sustainable community. 

As such, the plan proposes to build residences in Hamilton's east end and downtown area to accommodate 1,500 games officials in around 500 - 700 new units. 

Hamilton 100 says that the residences, which would range from one to three bedrooms in size, would be converted after the games into affordable housing. 

Athletes and team officials, meanwhile, would be housed in student residences at McMaster University, which will be emptier in the summertime. 

All new sport facilities, including the residences, would be LEED certified and net zero buildings. 

The report also highlights collaboration initiatives, including ways to promote indigenous participation, like consultation with Indigenous sport organizations and including significant roles for First Nations in the opening and closing ceremonies. 

Commonwealth Games Federation officials, including CEO David Grevemberg, toured the city's venues in early August. He had called the city a "real contender" for the games. 

Hamilton 100 is suggesting the dates of June 28 - July 7, 2030 for the games. 


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