Thunder Bay Springs to Life with the 2024 Ontario Winter Games Opener

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Historic Return: Thunder Bay Hosts After 50 Years

THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – The stage is set in Thunder Bay for an exhilarating chapter of winter sports as the 2024 Ontario Winter Games, proudly presented by Hydro One, officially get underway today.

The city is buzzing with anticipation as athletes from all corners of Ontario start pouring in, ready to showcase their prowess and spirit. And the excitement kicks up a notch with the first of two opening ceremonies slated for 5 pm tonight.

All Part of the Thunder Bay Experience

Barry Streib, the mastermind behind the organizing committee, couldn’t contain his excitement. “It’s a monumental day for us,” he shared. “Fifty years in the making, and Thunder Bay is ready to roll out the red carpet for these incredible athletes and their families. We’re all geared up to share the warmth and hospitality of our vibrant community!”

The games are spread out over two adrenaline-fueled weekends, February 16-19 and February 23-26, featuring 13 thrilling sports across 11 venues around the city.

Streib is calling on everyone to come out in force, to cheer, support, and be part of this remarkable sporting fiesta.

Neil Lumsden, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, highlighted the significance of the Games, not just for the athletes but for Thunder Bay and the surrounding regions. “This is a golden opportunity for Ontario’s young and promising athletes to shine, to push their limits in a quest for excellence. Beyond the competition, it’s a catalyst for economic growth, boosting local businesses, tourism, and shining a spotlight on the opportunities in Northern Ontario,” he noted.

Athletes and Fans Gather for Spectacular Opening

The Games are set to be a melting pot of talent with over 1,350 athletes, coaches, and officials participating. From cross country skiing to wrestling, the young athletes, aged 12 to 18, are ready to dazzle. The action starts today with ringette and futsal, and the momentum continues with badminton, cross-country skiing, diving, and wrestling joining the fray on Saturday. Spectators are in for a treat, with free admission to all sporting venues.

Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan, extended a warm welcome to the participants and spectators. “The next two weeks are going to be electrifying,” he predicted. “It’s an incredible platform for the athletes and a chance for us to rally behind them, providing that extra ounce of motivation they need.”

Tonight’s opening ceremony at Fort William Historical Park promises to be a spectacle, featuring the Athletes Parade, the Lighting of the Cauldron, and performances, including one by The Lockyer Boys, all free to the public. An encore of this celebration is scheduled for February 23, welcoming a fresh wave of competitors.

Matthew Lawrence, the Winter Games Coordinator, highlighted the community’s role in bringing the event to life. “The dedication and support from volunteers and local businesses have been overwhelming,” he said. “It’s a testament to Thunder Bay’s spirit and love for sport. For our local athletes, this is their moment, a rare chance to compete on home soil, buoyed by the cheers of friends and family.”

For more details on the sports schedule and events, the official 2024 Games Website, www.tbaygames2024.ca.

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