The Government of Ontario has announced that the 2024 Ontario Winter Games have been awarded to Thunder Bay for the first time since 1974. City of Thunder Bay officials and 2024 Bid Committee members shared more information about the bid and upcoming plans at a media event today.

“After a 50 year absence, we are very pleased the Ontario Winter Games are returning to Thunder Bay in 2024,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “Thank you to the Government of Ontario for selecting our community and providing $1.4 million in funding. This is an exciting announcement for both our local sport community and our tourism sector. We look forward to welcoming athletes, coaches and families from across Ontario and sharing our Thunder Bay hospitality with each of them.”

“This bid was successful in large part due to the commitment demonstrated by the community and the municipality,” said Bid Committee Chair Paul Burke. “I would like to thank and congratulate our Bid Committee for their efforts and fine work. I applaud their passion for sport and our community.”

The theme of Thunder Bay’s successful bid was “Return to the North.” A 209-page bid proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Culture Industries early in 2021. A virtual site visit and presentation were also part of the process. Bid supporters include the CEDC, tbaytel, Lakehead University and Fort William First Nation.

The Ontario Winter Games are multi-sport Games for youth athletes aged 12 to 18. The Winter Games are typically held every two years and were last held in Orillia in 2020. The 2022 Games were rescheduled to February 2023 due to COVID-19 and will take place in Renfrew County.

The Government of Ontario has committed funding of up to $1.4 million for the 2024 Games. The City of Thunder Bay has approved financial and in-kind support of $300,000 in principle. The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) has pledged an additional $200,000.

The Games are tentatively set for February 16 to 24, 2024. It is estimated that 18 sport venues (for 27 sports) and eight hotels will be needed for up to 3,500 participants. Fort William Gardens is the proposed venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Over 700 volunteers are required.

Next steps include fine tuning the event budget, establishing the Games Organizing Committee and sub-committees, securing venues and launching a sponsorship campaign.


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Contact:       Paul Burke, Sport & Community Development Supervisor, 625-2305