The 2022 Ontario Winter Games, which was set to be hosted by the County of Renfrew, has been postponed due to the growing concern of the impact the COVID-19 Omicron variant is having on the health and safety of Ontarians.
The announcement was made by County Warden Debbie Robinson on Friday, January 7, 2022. She hopes the games can simply be moved to next winter.
"The County of Renfrew was prepared to host the 2022 Ontario Winter Games during a pandemic, but we could not do it while safeguarding the health of the athletes, their families, our volunteers or the community at large," Robinson stated. "The support from the provincial government, especially that of Minister MacLeod and her staff along with our MPP John Yakabuski was outstanding, but there is just too much risk involved to make the games a reality in less than two months."
"The safety of Ontario communities is of critical importance right now, so while I also regret the necessity of postponing the games, I am pleased to continue working with organizers to host this event in Renfrew County when it is safe to do so," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
Games Organizing Committee Chair Reeve Peter Emon had amassed a group of volunteers and sponsors who came forward early on to offer their support for the Games. He is confident that a delay will not dampen their enthusiasm or commitment to the event.
"Our volunteers, sponsors and community partners all wanted our games to highlight our community and to encourage athletes, officials and visiting parents to explore and enjoy the rich history and the many splendid settings here in the county," he said. "The Omicron variant was not going to allow our community to safely shine for our guests and visitors in 2022."
Listen to Emon's appearance on Friday's edition of CityNews' The Rob Snow Show: