This is the first time Sports and Recreation has been identified and included as a separate and 12th section of the Living in Niagara Report. The Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University produced a policy brief for discussion: More than Fun and Games: Sport’s Contribution to Niagara’s Economy and Community Wellbeing, in November, 2010. Source: Niagara Community Observatory http://www.brocku.ca/webfm_send/15417
Since this is the first approach to including this sector in the Living in Niagara report, sector opinion leaders suggested that the following steps would help to develop this sector for subsequent reports:
- Find out what we are doing (inventory of facilities, programs, use)
- Determine how we are doing (are there enough opportunities for the population and across Niagara?)
- Decide if there are enough opportunities, and where any gaps exist
- If there are enough opportunities, are we accessing them?
- Remove barriers to access and ability to contribute (eg. poverty, transportation, location, offerings)
- Determine what we are doing to facilitate access and remove/reduce barriers
- Assess again how we are doing
Evidence of a variety of community offerings:
- Facilities and outdoor spaces are abuzz with participants of all ages in sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, lawn bowling, hockey and rowing,
- Many beautiful golf courses abound in Niagara including private clubs and the Niagara Parks Commission.
- Swimming, skating, lacrosse, hockey and skateboard facilities exist and are being expanded in many Niagara communities.
- The YMCAs operate in many of the municipalities offering a variety of programs for all ages.
- Parks and Recreation Departments and Community Centers across Niagara offer programs and maintain parks, playgrounds, indoor and outdoor parks, fields and facilities and use local churches and meeting places for activities across Niagara.
- Niagara College and Brock University offer a variety of sports and recreational activities.
- Both School Boards offer a variety of sports and recreational programs and activities and their facilities for groups to gather.
- Many private facilities are available for equestrian training and competition.
- Hiking trails exist, including the Niagara portion of Ontario’s Bruce Trail.
- Waterways and lakes provide places to canoe, kayak, row, fish, boat and recreate, in and along their banks.
- 250 community sport organizations (CSOs) deliver sports to 100,000 across lifespan.
- Private clubs such as Whiteoaks and many others offer fitness and health opportunities in Niagara.
- Churches, senior centers, long term care facilities and other social organizations offer activities.
- Malls offer indoor spaces for walking groups.
Hosting of tournaments and events …
- Local CSOs host over 150, small to medium sized tournaments and events for local, provincial, national and international levels.
- Niagara hosts high profile events such as the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, Women’s Wheelchair Basketball, the Ontario Baseball Championship and the rowing, canoeing, kayaking and long-distance swimming for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Examples of other activities …
- There are plenty of natural parks, organized parks and outdoor recreational areas throughout the region and along the waterways and lakes throughout the area
- There is evidence of citizens walking, jogging, cycling, workplace recreational groups and participating in “pickup” neighbourhood sports and games
- Participation in sports and recreation provide a place for youth and volunteers to develop leadership and organizational skills training to enable them to be able to contribute to the community
- The Lacrosse Hall of Fame is located inNiagara
- We have 522 km of marked cycling trials and numerous municipality cycling paths
- Places of meeting, socializing and gathering
- O.H.L. Hockey Team – the Ice Dogs
- Fort Erie Race Track