There’s a reason thousands of athletes, coaches and parents have flocked from across Canada to participate in the Canadian ringette championships that were hosted last week in Summerside.
The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance ranked the city in the top 10, with a population of less than 50,000, for sport and event hosting.
“We only have a population of around 17,000, so when you compete with cities that have 50,000 people it’s really impressive taking those numbers into account,” said Summerside city councillor Cory Snow, who attended the Sport Events Congress 2019 held recently in Ottawa.
“There were 119 cities in total on the inaugural Global Sports Impact (GSI) Canada Index. These cities included major metropolitan centres like Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and out of that list, we ranked 39. Now that’s impressive,” he said. “And for the small-sized cities, Summerside ranked 8th overall.”
Montreal retained the title for the second year running as the top city in Canada for hosting sports events, followed by Quebec City and Edmonton, Alta.
“For any event where you can bring teams, families, and coaches to your community and they are able to spend money in restaurants, hotels or on gas, it has a concrete impact on the economy,” Snow continued.
Natashia Harasym travelled all the way from Vancouver with family and friends to watch her daughter Talia, aged 15, participate in the ringette games in Summerside.
“We came here last Thursday and have been here the whole week to watch my daughter play, but it’s our first time on the Island,” she said. “We’ve been to the Silver Fox Bar and Grill and enjoyed the seafood there and are staying at The Gables of P.E.I. in Stanley Bridge.”
Harasym said she enjoyed the hospitality of the Island so much that she plans to drive her camper from British Columbia to P.E.I. this summer.
Sport tourism represents over 15,000 visitors to the city annually.
SETS (Sport Entertainment Tourism Summerside), which is a division of the Community Services Department of the City of Summerside helps drive this critical offering.
The 2017 National Championships had a $5.1 million impact province-wide, said Snow.
“We are expecting – with this shared event (ringette) – to bring in to Summerside approximately $1.5 to $2 million,” said Snow. “These numbers are amazing. And the reason why we feel sports tourism is a major economic driver for our city.”
Summerside plans to host more national and international sporting events soon.
“We’re always throwing the hook out there to get events that will impact our community, and the 2023 Canada Winter Games are coming up and that will have a long-lasting impression so we need to make sure we have the game to compete.”