Five years after it was announced that Greater Victoria would be the host city for the 55+ BC Games, the event is finally set to take place this Fall. Originally scheduled for 2021, the Games, an annual, multi-sport competition celebrating active and healthy seniors, will run September 13 – 17, 2022 at venues across the Capital Region.
Destination Greater Victoria’s Sports Tourism Commission secured the Host City designation for the Games in 2018. Paul Nursey, Destination Greater Victoria CEO, says “the Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Commission originally went after the 55+ Games for a variety of reasons beyond the economic impacts.
At the time there was a great deal of talk about larger multi-sport games such as bidding on Commonwealth Games and Invictus Games, yet the region had not held a multi-sport event in many years. As a result, the 55+ Games was viewed as a great opportunity to test the model of working together across sports, across municipalities, with the tourism and business community and re-ignite the passion for sports events on a manageable scale of a BC Games prior to taking on world events.”
On Tuesday, June 7, the torch of the 55+ BC Games was lit, marking the 100-day countdown to the 2022 Games.
The event was held at presenting sponsor Berwick Retirement Communities’ Royal Oak location. Crysta Davidson, a Berwick Royal Oak resident and long-time participant in the Ontario Senior Games in basketball and slow pitch, lit the torch.
Before arriving in Victoria, the torch travelled in a relay through Kamloops, Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Campbell River and Comox Valley, held at each city’s Berwick Retirement Communities location. Volunteers, board members, participants, special guests and Berwick residents gathered at each location for a ceremonial relay, torch lighting, entertainment, and refreshments.
The torch will be officially re-lit on September 14, at the Games opening ceremony at Save on Foods Memorial Centre.
“Watching the torch being lit, I felt a great sense of pride and excitement,” said Michael O’Connor, board president, Victoria 55+ BC Games. “The community has been working so hard to bring these Games to Greater Victoria. The torch is a very visible symbol of our community spirit and collaboration. It heralds the countdown to this fabulous event, which celebrates active living, healthy and engaged seniors, and camaraderie.
More than 3,500 participants, 1,200 volunteers and thousands of spectators from around B.C. will travel to Victoria to participate in sport and community building during the Games. They will feature 30 sports and activities including curling, triathlon, mountain biking, bocce, golf, and hockey.
It’s the first time Greater Victoria has hosted the 55+ BC Games in the event’s 36-year history, and it’s the first major multi-sport event the capital city is hosting since the 1997 North American Indigenous Games.
In 2017, an Economic Impact study found that the 55+ BC Games provide an impact of over $3.3 million to the host community. In addition, Host communities benefit from the development of capacity to host large multisport events by training volunteers and improved infrastructure through the Games Legacy program.
“Businesses in our region welcome the opportunity to host 3,500 athletes, along with their families and friends cheering them on,” Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams says. “It will be inspirational to see so many active and healthy people at our local sports venues — and at our restaurants and retailers when their competition is done for the day.”
The 55+ BC Games are funded primarily by the BC Seniors Games Society and the Provincial Government. They are considered an important part of the Sport 4 Life Long Term Athlete Development, with many of the Provincial Sport Organizations providing support. The BC Seniors Games Society is the parent organization that is responsible for the overall governance of the Games, the sport specific rules, and the liaison with the senior participants.
“We are thrilled to be coming back to the Games with such a strong Host Society at the helm. Our participants are ready to get back to the courts, fields, pools and card tables and to reconnect with friends they haven’t seen in two years,” says Paul Kingan, president, BC Seniors Games Society.
Participant registration for the 2022 Greater Victoria 55+ BC Games closes June 30, 2022. Volunteers are being actively recruited. More information: www.55plusbcgames.org.