With more than 3,500 athletes expected for the 2008 Ontario Summer Games held here in August, organizers put out the call for volunteers at the kickoff for the event countdown yesterday.
Approximately 1,100 volunteers are needed to run the event, which is held from August 13-18, said Eric Collard, spokesman for the event.
This year’s event features 26 sports, including tennis, waterskiing, water polo, basketball and baseball to be held in 32 venues across the city.
In 2008, two more sports, lawn bowling and triathlon, will be added in addition to swimming — previously a winter games sport — thanks to an additional $45,000 grant from the Ontario government.
The money will come from the Quest for Gold program, said Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margaret Best.
“It’s exciting to be here to experience the enthusiasm for the Ontario Summer Games,” she said.
While the games cost $1.2 million to run — the province is contributing $700,000 and the city’s contribution is $200,000 with the balance to come from sponsorships and tickets — the games are expected to welcome 5,000 out-of-town spectators, meaning a $1.8 million impact for Ottawa, said Mayor Larry O’Brien.
Debbie Weinstein, co-chairwoman of the games, said corporations are encouraged to purchase blocks of tickets and donate them back to Big Brothers Big Sisters to allow children to attend games.
More information on the games can be found at www.2008osg.ca.