Valuable assets

A regional swim meet, a girls’ hockey tournament, a youth bowling tournament, and a squash tournament filled local hotels and restaurants this past weekend.
In total, more than 400 young athletes were in the community—and most brought parents with them. As such, the parking lots and streets around the Memorial Sports Centre were jammed with cars, vans, and half-tons.
When the Memorial Sports Centre was being designed, which included building a new arena and joining it with the old one and the pool complex, there were many nay-sayers about its value to the community.
Yet last weekend, and almost every weekend during the winter months, reminds us of its long-term economic value to the community.
And let’s not forget our relatively new curling club, which has hosted major playdowns in the past and will do so again when the NOCA senior provincials are held here later this month.
Fort Frances is fortunate to have these first-class facilities. The economic benefits are numerous, starting with supporting jobs in the local hospitality and hotel industry. And it’s not just here in town. With hotels filled to overflowing, some parents went all the way to Emo for rooms last weekend.
Equally important, many of those parents and visitors could be seen shopping at local businesses when they had time away from the arenas, the pool, and the squash courts.
Often we forget the considerable impact all of these sports-related activities have on the economy of Fort Frances. The facilities we have built are valuable assets and a true economic driver—generating profits for those businesses that benefit directly, which go towards paying taxes, wages, and so on.
This weekend is the annual ladies’ bonspiel while the men will take to the ice at the end of March. And there’s yet another hockey tournament scheduled for the Memorial Sports Centre. Meanwhile, playoffs for the various high school teams, along with our local Junior ‘A’ Lakers and Senior ‘AAA’ Thunderhawks, also will draw people—and their wallets—in the coming weeks.
Arenas, bowling alleys, curling clubs, and swimming pools all contribute to the well-being of a community and their importance cannot be understated.