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COBOURG - After applying for the honour this winter, Cobourg has learned it will host the 2017 Ontario 55+ Winter Games.
From Feb. 21 to 23, 2017, events will take place at the Cobourg Community Centre and at venues throughout Northumberland County.
The town's application was selected by the Ontario government and by the Ontario Senior Games Association. The Ontario 55+ Games is a provincial program delivered in partnership with host municipalities to support community development and life-long physical activites.
The three-day multi-sport event is the only one of its kind in Ontario's 55-plus age demographic.
Michael Couteau — Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games — offered the town congratulations on its successful application.
"These games will provide an excellent opportunity for Cobourg to strengthen its local economy, showcase its rich heritage and welcome 55+ athletes from across the province,” Couteau said in a press release issued by the town.
“The Ontario Senior Games Association is pleased with the choice of Cobourg as the location for the 2017 Ontario 55+ Winter Games,” association president Gail Prior added.
“The enthusiasm and preparation of its bid shows that Cobourg is more than ready to welcome the 1,000-plus participants from across Ontario to its community. The OSGA and its members eagerly look forward to this event and all that Cobourg has to offer.”
Prior was among the Sport Alliance Ontario-Ontario Seniors Games Association delegation visiting the county in March as part of the selection process. They started the day with breakfast at the Cobourg Community Centre, a 142,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art facility that houses two arenas plus youth programs and senior activity centres.
Following the reception and meal, they boarded a bus to tour C.R. Gummow Public School, the Breakers Motel, the Cobourg Memorial Arena and adjacent Jack Heenan Arena (which currently houses the West Northumberland Curling Club), the Best Western Cobourg Inn and Convention Centre, Boston Pizza, Lions Community Centre, Ganaraska Forest Centre and the Town Park Recreation Centre in Port Hope.
Venues from across the county will be called upon to host competitors in 10 events, including alpine skiing, badminton, curling, duplicate bridge, hockey, nordic skiing, skating, table tennis, 10-pin bowling and volleyball.
“On behalf of council and myself, we are so pleased that Cobourg was selected to host the 2017 Ontario 55+ Winter Games,” Mayor Gil Brocanier said.
“Our senior community is incredibly active, and we hope to provide a memorable experience as we welcome this terrific event to our town.”
The Town of Cobourg is recognized as having one of the largest concentrations of senior residents, by share of overall population, of any community in Ontario. At the Cobourg Community Centre, the Cobourg Seniors Activity Centre currently has more than 900 active members and more than 30 programs weekly.