2030 Commonwealth Games will not be in Hamilton


Published February 14, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Lack of govermental buy-in apparently sank a bid for Hamilton to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games, even though the city boasts prominent cabinet ministers at both Queen’s Park and in Ottawa.

The Hamilton100 bid was on the agenda for a general issues committee (GIC) meeting tomorrow (Feb. 15). But on Tuesday, one of the co-leads, Louis (Lou) Frapporti, informed Hamilton media outlets that Commonwealth Sport Canada has informed the bid committee in writing that it no longer views Hamilton as its “preferred candidate… effectively immediately.”

As with the Olympics, a nation cannot submit multiple bids for the same Games. On Tuesday, livewirecalgary reported that exploration of a bid that could involve the city Calgary, province of Alberta, and the Tsuut’ina Nation. Calgary hosts many Olympic training centres, and Tsuut’ina Nation offers the three-year-old, 228,000-sq.ft. Seven Chiefs Sportsplex & Chief Jim Starlight Centre. The complex’s main hockey arena is used by two minor-league teams who are owned by the NHL’s Calgary Flames.

Both Frapporti and fellow co-lead P.J. Mercanti, had maintained the bid would not involve onerous costs for the City of Hamilton. They had also suggested the possibility of spreading the events, which includes about 20 sports, to cities across the region. The elected leadership in Mississauga had expressed interested in pitching in to host, and Burlington likely would have had some role.

The letter that is signed by Commonwealth Sport Canada president Claire Carver-Dias, says Hamilton lacked firm commitments from governments. Only the Ontario government is specifically mentioned.

“Those efforts (in Hamilton) have not resulted in securing governments’ commitment, including the Government of Ontario who did not commit to specificed requirements from Commonwealth Sport Canada by the deadline,” Carver-Dias wrote.

A bid for an international sports event would be in the purview of Tourism, Culture, Sport Minister Neil Lumsden (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek), within Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario PC Party cabinet. Lumsden was a sports administrator prior to be elected in 2022. A high point of his career in that field was serving as general manager and chief operating officer of the 2003 Road World Cycling Championships in Hamilton.

FedDev Minster Filomena Tassi (member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas) is part of the Liberal Party of Canada cabinet under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Tassi’s portfolio deals primarily with economic development in Southern Ontario, and Pascal St-Onge is the heritage and sport minister.

A summertime multisports games is probably at least two election cycles away both federally and provincially. The Liberal-NDP confidence supply agreement is supposed to defer any federal election until at least 2025. Ontario has fixed early-June election dates.

The Commonwealth Games are held at the rough midpoint of the Summer Olympics quadrennial cycle. Another major litmus test for Canada’s sportspeople is the Pan American Games, which are held one year prior to the Summer Olympics. Hamilton hosted some events when Toronto hosted the 2015 Pan-Am Games.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, and explored making a run at either the Commonwealth Games or Winter Olympics for 2026. The Hamilton bid organizers also initially considered a 2026 bid, but then shifted focus to 2030, which marks the 100th anniversary of Hamilton hosting the first edition of the Games (then known as the British Empire Games).

In a referendum in 2019, Calgary voters rejected supporting a bid, reflecting a growing public distaste with governments footing the bill for major sports events. The ’26 Winter Olympics will be jointly hosted by Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and the CWG that year will be in Victoria, Australia.

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