Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City wins Canada Summer Games '17

Officials expected to reveal it on Friday

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An announcement that Winnipeg will host 5,000 of Canada's best amateur athletes in 2017 is expected Friday.

The organizers of the Canada Summer Games will announce the winning bid to hold the 2017 event, which will undoubtedly feature a number of future Olympians, at a news conference Friday at The Forks at 1 p.m.

Premier Greg Selinger will join Tom Quinn, chairman of the Canada Games Council, and Sue Hylland, its president and CEO, for the announcement.

Catriona Le May Doan, who participated in one summer version of the Canada games in athletics and two winter games in speedskating before embarking on her gold-medal-winning Olympic career, will MC the news conference.

Local organizers were tight-lipped about the winning bid, but officials with a large sporting or cultural event aren't in the habit of holding news conferences in one city to announce the event will be held somewhere else.

Mariette Mulaire, co-chairwoman of the Winnipeg bid, exuded nothing but confidence in a recent interview.

"I would buy a lottery ticket. I think we have a great shot and we have what it takes. We have some little challenges that we're going to have to find solutions for, but we definitely have what it takes in all aspects," she said.

"We think Winnipeg is the perfect place to host these games. It's going to be one of the major events in the country going on that year. It's the 50th year of the games and the 150th birthday for Canada."

Mulaire said Winnipeg isn't quite a turn-key option, but it's close. Some venues will need to be refurbished and work will need to be done to ensure the athletes village can accommodate everybody. But the city, should it be successful, will have two of the finest venues in the country at its disposal - the MTS Centre and Investors Group Field.

In addition to being able to watch 2,500 athletes perform each week of the two-week event, Winnipeg will also benefit from a significant economic impact. Halifax, which hosted the Canada Winter Games in 2011, saw $130 million flow into the city from visitors' wallets.

Mulaire said the bid committee was able to highlight Winnipeg's outstanding record of hosting big sporting events, notably the 1999 Pan Am Games.

The Canada Games were first held in Quebec City in 1967. The summer version was held in Brandon in 1997, 18 years after Manitoba's second-biggest city also hosted the winter version.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2013 A9

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