There was complete silence at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
The crowd held its collective breath in the final seconds before the Canada Games Council announced which community it had selected host the 2021 event.
When the word Niagara came across the live feed from Toronto, the room exploded.
“It is great news for us,” said Mishka Balsom, president of Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, who attended the viewing party at the St. Catharines arts centre.
“It’s exciting. The legacy fund will make a real difference in the community. It reinforces the commitment to sports tourism. It’s a great example of all the communities coming together and working on something.”
The Games will bring about 5,600 young athletes and their coaches from across Canada to Niagara in the summer of 2021. The athletes will compete in events over 18 days.
The event is also expected to attract between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors.
Familiar names from past Games include Sidney Crosby, Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash, Eugenie Bouchard, Russell Martin and Niagara’s Mike Strange.
Events of one sort or another will take place in all of Niagara’s municipalities over the nearly three-week duration.
“There will be a direct economic impact,” said David Oakes, the director of economic development for Niagara Region.
“We are talking $200 million in economic impact on the community. That’s construction. That’s spectators. That’s athletes. It is all the spending that will happen during the Games.
“There is also an intangible piece for Niagara. We are showing we can come together. We are showing we can host a national-calibre event. It…
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