Ontario Parasport Games generates $145,000 legacy fund for Durham Region para athletes

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Published February 29, 2024 at 3:32 pm

wheelchair rugby
Wheelchair rugby at the Ontario Parasport Games

When you budget for an extra $60,000 in sponsorship and fundraising to serve as a ‘legacy fund’ for future generations, topping that mark by a whopping 240 per cent has to be considered an overwhelming success.

That’s exactly what happened with the 2023 Ontario Parasport Games, with sponsorship and fundraising activities producing nearly $267,000, helping organizers blow past the initial $60,230 legacy fund target to raise $145,579, a number that will give a major boost to the parasport community in Durham Region.

With community, government and local business support – from volunteerism, headband knitting, and athlete support through the ‘Be The Roar campaign – generating $872,991 in economic activity across the province (more than $700,000 locally), the impact of the Games is being felt long after the athletes have returned home and the roar of the crowds have quieted.

“We set out to host the best Games yet. For our team, that meant not just success during the Games weekend, but creating a legacy of increased opportunities and participation in adaptive sport in our community, said Ontario Parasports co-chair Don Terry. “We received a tremendous outpouring of community support during the planning and delivery of the Games (and) this money will help grow opportunities and participation in para and adaptive sport in our community.”

The Durham Region 2023 Ontario Parasport Games were a resounding success by all accounts, starting with financial support from the Region of Durham and Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

“We’re proud of the impact that these Games will have for years to come, leaving a legacy that will support activities, programming and events across Durham Region that reduce barriers and enable greater numbers of Ontarians to realize the benefits that come from participating in sport,” said former football star and Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Neil Lumsden.

“We could not be more proud of the outpouring of support for these Games,” added Durham Chair John Henry. “Durham Region demonstrated, once again, our community’s standing commitment to accessibility and inclusion. The established Legacy Fund will enable our region to work toward ensuring we are accessible for everyone who works or plays here.”

5-a-Side Blind Soccer at the Ontario Parasport Games

The 2023 Games Legacy Fund will be distributed to three different organizations, with the bulk going to the Durham Community Foundation and its newly established Durham Region Adaptive Sport & Recreation Legacy Fund.

The fund, which has a goal of supporting adaptive/parasport activities, programs and events offered in Durham Region, will receive $112,000. Legacy funds from other adaptive sport events and community initiatives could also be contributed to this fund in the future.

The Adaptive Sport Festival, which will provide school groups and the broader community with adaptive sport try-it opportunities and information about local programs, will get $30,000. Since hosting the Games in 2019 and again in 2023, new programs and teams in adaptive sports such as Sitting Volleyball, 5-a-side/Blind Soccer, Boccia, adaptive/para climbing, and PowerHockey, have launched and the objective of the festival is to foster the growth of existing programs and to identify opportunities to bring new parasport programs to the region.

The Community Tree and Shrub Planting program, which will plant more than 100 trees and shrubs this spring, will receive $3,529 and will highlight the sustainability goals of the Games and help offset the Games’ carbon footprint.

The Durham Region 2023 Ontario Parasport Games has also been named as one of three finalists for the Legacy of the Year award through Sport Tourism Canada’s PRESTIGE Awards.

Winners will be announced March 15.

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