PEI’s two largest communities say they’re expecting a busy summer for sports events on the Island.
Officials with the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown say they hope local businesses will get a boost from sports tourism to the province.
Wayne Long, acting manager of economic, tourism and cultural development for the City of Charlottetown, said the city plans to build on a series of successful events hosted in PEI earlier this year — including the 2023 Canada Winter Games.
“We’re still recovering from the pandemic, so the availability of sports tourism events is not at the level that it would typically be,” Long said.
“Cities that were set to host events during the pandemic have been re-secured [them], and those events have moved forward to 2023-24. But we definitely do have some good events on the calendar.”
Long said Charlottetown has been able to host between 80 and 90 per cent of the events it had secured commitments for before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.
‘Robust’ calendar, Summerside says
Among the events scheduled for this summer are the Atlantic Bowls Championships for lawn bowlers and the World U17 Hockey Challenge, which Charlottetown will host in partnership with the City of Summerside.
“Things are shaping up quite busy at the moment, if that’s the word,” said JP Desrosiers, Summerside’s deputy chief administrative officer.
“Obviously, since the pandemic we’ve made a conscious effort to kind of return our calendar to what it was pre-COVID, and maybe even [be] a little bit more robust. So of course [there’s] a busy next six to eight months in front of us from a sport and event tourism perspective.”
In the same week the under-17 hockey tournament is taking place, the city will also be hosting the CCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship.
Also coming to Summerside this summer are the under-16 girls baseball national championships and the TriLobster triathlon, as well as half-marathons and cricket and power-lifting events, Desrosiers said.
Benefiting from Canada Games infrastructure
Desrosiers said the city has been able to benefit from the Credit Union Place multi-purpose dome built to host some 2023 Canada Games events.
He said having these facilities helps attract national and international events that require “up-to-standards” venues.
“You can bid on 10 or 15 events and be unfortunately only successful in one or two of them,” Desrosiers said. “Although we have been able to [count on those] over the past few years, you can’t count on them. So we try and build our homemade events so that we can at least sustain the traffic throughout the year.
“The risk for that is … when we are successful in a number of bids, we have an awful pile of events to deliver on. But that’s OK. That’s what we want.”