Just a few months into its creation, the Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Commission has landed its first prize, the 2021 55+ BC Games.
The BC Seniors Games announced that a partnership of Greater Victoria cities, Victoria, Saanich and Langford, are the main hosts for the 2021 Senior Games. The 2021 opening ceremonies will happen at Royal Athletic Park on Sept. 14 and the Games will run until Sept. 18.
“Picture in three years, 3,000 to 4,000 people here at Royal Athletic Park for the opening ceremonies for the event,” said Keith Wells, executive director of Sports Tourism Commission.
All 13 municipalities in the region have signed a letter of support. Venues such as Saanich Commonwealth Pool, UVic’s Centennial Stadium and Bear Mountain’s new clay tennis courts are expected to host some of the key events.
The 55+ BC Games is an annual, multi-sport competition celebrating active and healthy seniors that is 34 years old. The five day competition attracts more than 3,500 athletes from across the province to participate in over 23 sports.
A recent economic study shows the 55+ BC Games provide more than $3 million to the host community.
“Our Sports Tourism Commission has only been going a few months, and [Wells] and his team have been able to put together a winning bid, and that augurs well for future bids,” said Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria. “Now it’s over to us to form an organizing committee to from a great games and a legacy foundation.”
The Sports Tourism Commission which born out of the SportHost Victoria and launched earlier this year. SportHost had existed on a legacy fund from the 94 Commonwealth Games also had a rich history of bringing events to Victoria such as the men’s curling world championships in 2006 and 2013 and the 2007 Fifa U20 World Cup.
“It shows the strength and resources Victoria has to run multi sport games,” said Robert Bettauer, chair of the Sports Commission and also the CEO of PISE. “Our objective over the next 10 years is to host many events, both single-sport and multi-sport games.”
Bettauer, a world-ranked 60-64 masters tennis player, will be a favourite to win the men’s single tennis tournament at the BC 55+ Games.
“By that time I will be competing in the 65 and over, and I look forward to playing on Bear Mountain’s wonderful new clay