WHITBY – Durham Region to host 2023 Ontario Parasport Games

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Published April 18, 2022 at 3:02 pm

Four years after they successfully hosted the Ontario Parasport Games the Region of Durham has once again been tapped to run the event, with 500 participants expected to be in the region next spring for the 2023 competition.

There will be 11 sport competitions at eight venues, along with an opening ceremony, and two dinners for participants. The main venue at the 2019 Games was the Abilities Centre in Whitby.

The impact to the local economy is expected to be between $500,000 and $1 million.

Sport Durham, the Region of Durham’s sport tourism program, will work closely with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and community volunteers to form the Games’ Organizing Committee.

The 2019 Ontario Parasport Games brought in approximately $678,000 in local economic impact and produced a legacy fund of $112,000 that is being used to increase adaptive sport opportunities and participation in Durham. The 2019 Games were recognized with several national and provincial awards.

“The Games generate lasting positive impacts for our community,” Co-Chair Don Terry, who has chaired Sport Durham since 2013 and was co-chair of the 2019 competition. Legacy funds from 2019 are retrofitting a rink fully accessible for sledge hockey, removing family financial barriers so children with disabilities can enjoy sport and delivering a Parasport School Grow it Program and more, he added.

“I’m proud of our community’s long history of inclusion with accessible facilities & organizations like the Abilities Centre, Grandview Kids and Windreach Farms. Hosting these Games will further raise awareness of the value of inclusion and seeing first-hand all that people can do.”

The Region has also hosted 2015 Pan Am Games events (Boxing and Weightlifting in Oshawa; Baseball and Softball in Ajax); the 2000 Ontario Summer Games; the Ontario 55+ Summer Games in 2010; and the Ontario Parasport Games back in 1979.

“Durham Region is honoured to be hosting the Ontario Parasport Games (again),” said Durham Chair John Henry. “It’s a reflection of our commitment to accessibility and inclusion – a community working together to find valuable solutions that produce positive impacts. Collectively building on the best place to call home.”

Ontario Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy called Durham Region the “perfect place” to host the event, a sentiment shared by Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod. “Durham is one of Ontario’s best destinations for accessible sport, and our government is proud to provide $135,000 to support the Games, which will boost the local economy, attract visitors from across the province, engage volunteers, develop sport and recreation locally, and leave a lasting legacy in the community.”

2019 events included Wheelchair Basketball, Rugby and Curling; Sitting Volleyball, 5-a-side Soccer, Boccia, Goalball, Para-Alpine, Para Nordic, Sledge Hockey and Visually impaired Curling.

“Durham Region boasts a history of accessibility and inclusion with high performance venues and experienced, capable volunteers making it a fantastic community to successfully host these Games,” said Mike Frogley, who will co-chair the event with Terry.

The 2022 Ontario Parasport Games, re-scheduled from 2021 because of the pandemic, will take place May 13-15 in Mississauga.

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