Local senior athletes could compete their way to Ontario 55+ Games

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Ontario residents age 55 or older will be congregating in Southern Ontario this August for the Ontario Senior Games Association’s (OSGA) 2023 Ontario 55+ Summer Games tournament, and local senior athletes could see themselves among their numbers.

The OSGA is holding the tournament in the City of Brantford and Brant County from August 9 – 12, 2023, bringing together athletes from across the province to compete for a chance to continue on to the Canada 55+ Games. The OSGA has more than 30 member districts, with the Rainy River District being designated as District 1B. Fort Frances was previously part of District 1A, but District chair person Irene Laing recently proposed the change, according to Cynthia Woodland.

According to the OSGA website, the 55+ Games are open to any Ontario resident who is 55 or older, and is geared towards all levels of experience, while also promoting participants to try new events to to re-engage with their favourite activities. The Summer Games themselves offer 18 different events, including physical activities like billiards, bocce, cycling, golf and swimming, as well as competitive card games like cribbage, euchre and bridge.

However, local activities for seniors interested in participating closer to home will include tennis, pickleball, billiards, darts, golf, swimming ,walking and running, while card games will be limited to smear, 500, cribbage and contact bridge, with contact bridge being the only card game to advance from the district to Brantford.

“Participants will need to join the Ontario Senior Summer Games online for a small feel of $15,” said Woodland.

“The Fort Frances Senior Centre will also have registration forms available. District 1B will also charge a small fee to offset costs to run the sports. The committee is hoping to be out in the community to answer questions.”

The first Ontario 55+ Senior Games were held in Kitchener in 1986 and now involve hundreds of volunteers supporting athletes from across Ontario. The games demonstrate Ontario;s Commitment to athlete development and active living at all stages of life, according to a press release from October 2022 announcing Brantford and Brant County as the hosts for the 2023 Games, and it also showcases the province as a prime location for hosting high-profile national and international sport events.

“We are very honoured and excited to have been selected to co-host this prominent event,” said 2023 Ontario 55+ Summer Games co-chairs Ela Stypa Jones and Donna Clements in the release.

“The Ontario 55+ Summer Games will provide our communities with the opportunity to demonstrate and celebrate the vital role older adults play in sport, tourism and economic development. Working together to implement our inspiring vision, the Games Organizing Committee very much looks forward to executing an outstanding program that will be enjoyed by athletes, coaches, spectators, volunteers, and visitors alike.”

For more on the 2023 Ontario 55+ Summer Games, and to learn more about the activities being hosted by District 1B, keep an eye on the Fort Frances Times.