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London to host back-to-back Ontario Summer Games in 2018 and 2020

London has been named host for the 2020 Ontario Summer Games. If the news sounds familiar, that’s because the city will also be hosting the 2018 Ontario Summer Games in August.

Officials with the province, including local MPP Deb Matthews and Tourism Minister Daiene Vernile, made the announcement Friday morning at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre on Wonderland Road.

In a release, Mayor Matt Brown said London’s identity as a “sport city” makes it a fitting place to host the 2020 event. He added that London is more than capable of handling back-to-back games.

“We have an army of volunteers at the ready to make this event amazing and we are so proud of our hometown athletes, who I know will do great things,” said Brown.

Tourism London’s Cheryl Finn during Friday’s announcement at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre.

Jake Jeffrey / 980 CFPL

Tourism London’s Director of Sport Cheryl Finn told 980 CFPL the back-to-back games will bring more to the city than just entertainment value.

“3500 athletes and their families will travel with them and stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, take advantage of our attractions and what we have to offer over the long weekend.”

“It’s a pretty significant economic impact,” said Finn.

Beyond economic benefits, Finn added that the Games may even help in recruiting some sport talent to the city.

“It’s a great opportunity to have 3500 youth athletes on our campuses and in our facilities over a four-day period,” said Finn.

London previously hosted the biennial games in 1975, 1996 and 2004. The 2018 games will run from Aug. 2 to Aug. 5.

Events will take place at local baseball parks, the Canada Games Aquatic Centre and the Carling Heights Optimist Centre, as well as other facilities in London.

Finn said just over 700 volunteers have already registered to help out, but organizers are aiming for a total of 1000.

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