The City of Whitehorse has formally declared its intention to co-host, with the Yukon government, the 2027 Canada Winter Games.
Whitehorse city council voted at its June 14 meeting to declare it will pursue hosting the national sporting event with the Yukon government.
Coun. Laura Cabott described the declaration as a preliminary step in a much longer process for the Games.
“There could be many positives,” she said of hosting the Games, noting the city and territory have a strong reputation for pulling off quality national events.
As acting city manager Jeff O’Farrell told council in an earlier report, the territory is on the hosting cycle for the 2027 Canada Games.
In January, the Yukon government told the Canada Games Council it would support a non-competitive bid process to host the Games with the City of Whitehorse.
For that to happen, the city had to formally declare its intention to host by June 30. With that now done, a bid committee will be established. The two co-hosts are required to pay a $60,000 bid fee.
It’s anticipated the bid launch will be in the fall with a technical bid due in January, followed by the full bid package in July 2022. Council approval will be required for the bid to be submitted.
The bid package will provide details on various aspects of the Games such as athlete accommodations, transportation, venues, revenue generation, volunteer recruitment, as well as capital and operating funding.
“The bidding is a significant undertaking,” Cabott said.
If the bid moves forward to the Canada Games Council, a review would happen in October 2022 with a decision of the Canada Games Council anticipated about a month later.
If the city and territory are awarded the Games, the event will happen two decades from the first and only time the Canada Winter Games were hosted in Whitehorse in 2007. This was also the first time the games were hosted north of 60.
It was those Games that saw the building of the Canada Games Centre, with the exception of the aquatic centre portion that had already been constructed and was operating on the site.
The event also saw construction of an athlete’s village, which was converted to student and seniors housing at Yukon University (then Yukon College) after the Games, along with several upgrades to other facilities around town.
In his previous report to council, O’Farrell described the 2007 Games as “an extremely successful event that had a lasting impact in Whitehorse’s sporting infrastructure, economy and sense of community.”
More than 7,500 people visited the territory at the time, spending $8.7 million.
The total economic impact was estimated at $94.8 million, with capital spending accounting for $69.1 million of that.
Before voting in favour of declaring the city’s intention with the 2027 Games, Coun. Samson Hartland pointed to the volunteer support that helped make the 2007 Games a success, adding that if that event had not been a success, the city would not likely be entertaining the possibility of co-hosting the 2027 Games, which will also take the work of many volunteers.
“We will need the community’s support,” he said, also stressing the importance of watching “the bottom line” and partnering with all orders of government to ensure the success of the Games.
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