Saanich could end up spending up to $20,000 on bringing the Invictus Games to the Greater Victoria area in 2022 following a notice of motion from Mayor Fred Haynes and Coun. Judy Brownoff.
Council is debating this funding after a request from Keith Wells, executive director from the Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Association. It has also asked the City of Victoria and the City of Langford to contribute $20,000 towards the bid. Esquimalt has received a request of $5,000, while Oak Bay Monday unanimously approved $5,000 towards the project.
According to Wells, the smaller municipalities will have smaller roles, hence the smaller funding request.
Speaking before Oak Bay council Monday, Wells said the deadline for the bid is March 29 with the total bid cost around $70,000. Funding the application now does not commit the municipalities to funding the Games themselves, which would cost millions, he said.
Wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their veterans associations compete across multiple sports in the Invictus Games, created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The name of the competition stems from a poem titled Invictus (Latin for unconquered) by English poet by William Ernest Henley in which the author (himself an amputee) celebrates physical and mental perseverance in the face of daunting odds.
Several prominent historical figures including Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela have quoted it.
The competition first debuted in London, England, in 2014. Orlando hosted in in 2016, Toronto in 2017, and Sydney in 2018 The Hague will host it in 2020.
Efforts to bring the games to Victoria date back to at least 2018, when Canada’s delegation to the Sydney Games used the occasion to make a case for Victoria.
“Victoria is a proper host city, it has the trifecta of a military background, sport background, and the volunteerism, a perfect place to host the Invictus Games,” said Peter Lawless, coach of the Canadian delegation said at that time. “We’ve seen what sports can do, the legacy of the Commonwealth Games here, and bringing these three groups together is how we’ll do it.”
The Saanich News has reached to the mayors of Saanich, Victoria, Langford and Esquimalt for comment, and will update this story accordingly.
If Saanich were to approve the funding, it would come from the municipality’s strategic priorities contingency fund.
With files from Jesse Laufer.