The Niagara Region has always had a vibrant sport and physical activity culture. This will be on full display in August when more than 5000 athletes, coaches and staff from across the nation come to the region to take part in the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
Marquee sporting events such as the Canada Games provide excellent opportunities for new partnerships and legacy projects to enhance a community’s quality sport and physical activity opportunities. The Niagara Canada Games are no different, as Ridley College and Sport for Life – in collaboration with the Canada Games Council – have joined forces to establish a community sport legacy project, which ultimately will be spearheaded by a new Sport Niagara entity following the Games.
Combining Sport for Life’s professional staff and educational resources with Ridley College’s reputation and growing influence in the larger community of the Niagara Region as a leader in Long-Term Development and multisport delivery, this project will result in co-branded workshops, educational materials and messaging that advances inclusive, quality sport objectives in the Niagara Region following the Games. In collaboration with the Host Society, Ridley College and Sport for Life will deliver activations at multiple sporting and community events as well as at numerous Niagara Canada Games venues daily for the duration of the Games. Ridley College and Sport for Life will also work with sport leaders to advance quality sport in the region.
Hosting sports events can bring many positive benefits to the community. Traditionally, many of the benefits that motivate event hosts, governments and sponsors have focused on creating economic or sport impacts. More recently, mega, major and signature sport event organizers are being asked to help communities address long-standing social issues and to leave the community better than before. Sport for Life and similar organizations have made the case that social legacies such as greater community cohesion, improved accessibility, additional community programming, enhanced volunteerism, greater overall sport participation, increased physical activity and improved health of citizens are just as relevant as and perhaps even more critical than other event legacies.
The partnership between the Canada Games Council, Ridley College and Sport for Life has a similar mindset around the social legacy they want to leave with the participants and stakeholders of the Niagara Canada Games. After the Games, the “Before they are left to their own devices” campaign will be transferred over to the new Sport Niagara body providing this legacy group the foundational messaging and the high profile it needs to do the good work of growing quality, inclusive sport through collaboration in the Niagara Region.
Jay Tredway is the Assistant Head of School at Ridley College and has been a key liaison between Ridley College and Sport for Life. Tredway believes that multisport experiences are crucial for building confidence and developing a wide range of physical, social and emotional skills which is core to their educational philosophy at Ridley College. “Daily, quality physical activity has been a central pillar of Ridley’s approach for over 130 years, and in partnering with Sport for Life and the Games Council, we want to bring our voice and experience to the table to share with our neighbours,” he said. “This first regionally hosted Games in the history of the Canada Games is unique, and coming out of the pandemic where access to sport and overall participation has been stunted, we need that same unique regional collaboration to make sure our children benefit from an active start in sport, and that more adults stay active for life. These Games can be the spark we need to set the physical activity and health trajectory of our entire regional population for generations to come, and collaboration with Sport for Life and the Games Council will help us set the right foundation.”
Carolyn Trono is the Director of Quality Sport with Sport for Life. She sees the great value this partnership will bring to the sport and physical activity community in the Niagara Region. “The Canada Games have always been an example of collaboration and partnerships within Host Societies. Through the Sport for Life partnership with Canada Games Council and our relationship with Ridley College, we are moving forward in the Niagara Region to do more to increase physical literacy and quality sport. Very exciting to be working with so many impressive organizations!”