The Niagara 2021 Canada Games has been postponed until the summer of 2022 due to the continued public health concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon by the Canada Games Council and the 2021 Canada Games Host Society, after consulting with the Niagara Region, the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government.
Nova Scotia’s chef de mission Lori Lancaster wasn’t surprised by the decision to postpone the Games a year.
“We’ve been having meetings over the last several months and not until the last month or so has the topic (to postpone) been raised,” said Lancaster. “But unfortunately we are not just looking at Nova Scotia, we have to look at the full country and how the rest of the country is doing related to COVID-19. That’s where the decisions were made, on the outlook of the entire country.”
The news release stated that given the uncertainty created by the ongoing pandemic, the decision to postpone the Games was made, first and foremost, to ensure the health and safety of all the athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and spectators expected to attend this event.
“There were two major elements on the decision, one was participant safety which was critical and the second one was the participant experience,” said Lancaster. “The host society has said their goal is to host a spectacular experience, a memorable experience, one that athletes, coaches and parents can take away from.
“But the challenges that a pandemic provided and the uncertainty around it, I don’t think they felt they could portray that experience.”
Lancaster knows many of athletes and coaches will be disappointed by the news, but Team Nova Scotia supports the decision to postpone a year.
“We want to ensure that our athletes and our coaches have a tremendous Canada Games experience and I think 2022 will allow for the country to settle, allow for us to potentially have a vaccine in place. So I think that experience will be all the more for our athletes and all of those participating in the Games.
Nova Scotia’s summer games contingent is between 400 and 450 participants.
The Canada Games are held every two years, alternating between winter and summer is considered the marquee event for amateur sport representing the highest level of national competition for thousands of up-and-coming Canadian athletes.
More than 5,000 participants and 4,000 volunteers are expected to take part in Canada's largest multi-sport event in the Niagara Region in 2022.
The Niagara Games were scheduled for Aug. 6-21, 2021. No decision has been made on the new dates for the Niagara Games.