The Niagara Sport Commission (NSC) has been involved in over 40 sporting events over the last 4 years, with an economic impact of over $75 million in Niagara. NSC is a regional development agency that uses sport as a catalyst for economic (sport tourism) and community (active healthy lifestyle programs) development within the Niagara Region.

NSC services include:

  • Event Management and Operations
  • Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Media and Community Relations
  • Community Sport Programming
  • Volunteer Management
  • Economic Impact Assessment
  • Revenue Generation
  • Operations and Logistics
  • Hotel Coordination
  • Professional Training and Development

NSC’s mandate is to foster economic and community development through sport. Its mission is to enhance the economic, social, and personal health of Niagara residents through sport and physical activity. Its vision is for Niagara to be the premier centre for sport and recreation in Ontario.

NSC’s goals are to:

  • Support Niagara’s sport organizations to deliver high quality sport and physical activity programs
  • Leverage Niagara’s combined resources for the benefit of sport organizations, businesses, and local residents
  • Facilitate equity and access to sport facilities and programs in Niagara
  • Create sustained sources of revenue for the Niagara Sport Commission
  • Coordinate and support local efforts to attract and host sporting events
  • Support the development of a trained volunteer workforce in the Niagara Region

Source: Niagara Sport Commission
Retrieved From:

Planning for Large Sporting Event Legacy
A May, 2014 event co-hosted by the Niagara Sport Commission, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and the Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University examined ways that Niagara can effectively leverage the fact that the rowing and the canoe/kayak sprint events for the Pan Am Games (July 10-26, 2015) and the Parapan American Games (August 7-15) are being held in Niagara.

An Ontario Chamber of Commerce document, Beyond the Finish Line: Ensuring a Successful Legacy for the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan American Games provides insight into factors around how and whether communities that host major events realize long-term benefits from such activity. Following is an excerpt from that document:

As past examples show, realizing long-term benefits from major sporting events cannot be assumed. Experience demonstrates that a number of actions are required across a wide variety of policy areas to ensure a positive economic legacy beyond the conclusion of the Games.

These include:

  1. Ensuring that the Games generate a sustained increase in tourism
  2. Leveraging the Games to develop a robust sports infrastructure in the host area
  3. Limiting the impact the Games have on transit and goods movement
  4. Creating opportunities for local businesses, including SMEs, to participate in procurement
  5. Building and strengthening trade relationships with those countries that are participating in the Games
  6. Leveraging the Games to attract key talent and skills to Ontario

The document included recommendations to government for ways to support Ontario businesses in the host areas for the Games to leverage related opportunities:

  • Allocate additional dollars to the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation to target international tourists, and expedite Canadian travel visa requirements
  • Raise the profile of the host communities as excellent venues to host other large sporting events
  • Coordinate traffic reduction targets so as to not unduly affect flow of goods
  • Make local business owners aware of opportunities to bid on procurement for the Games
  • Leverage opportunities to help boost Latin American trade
  • Utilize the events to help attract Students to study in Ontario.

Source: Ontario Chamber of Commerce
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YMCA of Niagara
The YMCA of Niagara 2012-2013 Annual Report shows that this nationally-recognized charity has been serving Niagara for over 154 years. Other statistics include:

  • Serves 92,000 people of all ages across 112 sites across Niagara
  • 48% of YMCA participants are under the age of 18
  • Employs 1,496 people annually
  • Programs are supported by 840 volunteers annually
  • 43,216 children and youth were served in Child Care, Day Camp, Before and After School Care, Community Drop Ins and recreation programs
  • 15, 213 individuals received financial assistance to participate in YMCA of Niagara programs

The Niagara West YMCA serving Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln had 7,500 members in its first full year of operation. The Port Colborne YMCA had 2,200 members soon after its February, 2013 opening, representing over 12% of the City’s population. The Port Colborne location is an example of an innovative City/YMCA partnership that allows for service within a smaller population base, which is a growing trend between YMCAs and municipalities across Canada.

Source: YMCA of Niagara
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Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC)
The Welland Recreational Canal Corporation is the steward of the Welland Recreational Waterway, which is home to the WIFC. The total economic impact of events at the WIFC from 2011 to 2014 is over $80 million, with an annual average of 12,000 international visitors.

The Welland Recreational Waterway Master Plan (2008) can be found here.

Illuminaqua is a concert series that combines fire, music and water on the Old Welland Canal. The series takes place at the Merritt Park Amphitheatre in Welland, and draws attendees from across Ontario and Western New York.It links arts, culture, heritage and recreation through initiatives such as the Canoe Art Project.

Source: Welland Recreational Canal Corporation
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Bouldering in Niagara
Research has been done on bouldering within the Niagara Glen as a model of successfully integrating and providing access to world-class rock climbing within Niagara. This is an example of collaboration between parks facilities and people interested in promoting Niagara as a site for bouldering.

The Niagara Glen became a nature reserve in 1992 and falls under the jurisdiction of the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC). The park is on the Niagara River near the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario and is home to many limestone and sandstone formations and a variety of flora and fauna, some of which are both rare and endangered in this particular part of Canada (Ritchie, 2002). The park is a popular tourist and recreation day-trip destination with close proximity to the iconic Niagara Falls. Bouldering, a form of rock climbing with a focus on gymnastic movement close to the ground without the use of ropes or harnesses, became popular in the Niagara Glen in 1996 and continues to grow in popularity (Ritchie, 2002). The Niagara Glen has been featured in international climbing magazines as a bouldering destination and attracts ongoing international attention as a special interest outdoor recreation resource (Roth, 2007).

In 2008, the Niagara Glen was reviewed by the NPC as an area that may benefit from restrictions and/or changes to recreation access due to environmental impacts from various user groups. One of the impacts to the area is trampled vegetation from boulderers accessing climbing sites off the main trails and inadvertently trampling vegetation at popular bouldering areas. In response, the NPC contemplated various management approaches to better preserve the natural area (Ritchie, 2002; Roth, 2007).

The possibility of boulderers losing access spurred a community-building campaign from rock climbers across the province, country and internationally, to work together with the NPC in hopes of keeping the area open for bouldering and to improve the environmental sustainability of the park. The bouldering community came together with a unified vision through a provincial rock climbing access coalition (the Ontario Rock Climbing Access Coalition) and began meeting on a regular basis engaging in solutions-oriented discussions with members of the NPC. The end result has been the implementation of a bouldering permit system, clarifying to boulderers which areas are open and closed to climbing as well as creating a stronger focus on the best practices of minimum impact bouldering.

The Niagara Glen is now a successful model of outdoor recreation sustainability that is meeting both the needs of people and the natural environment through protecting a natural resource that provides unique opportunities for physical activity in nature. Since the implementation of the permit system in 2011, the park has reported being extremely happy with the results of promoting stewardship of the natural environment and boulderers have shown their support by purchasing hundreds of permits every year and following the new rules and regulations. Overall, the collaborative formalization of bouldering as an accepted activity at the Niagara Glen has helped to highlight and protect one of the many unique opportunities for outdoor recreation in Niagara.
To purchase an annual 20$ permit and to find out more about bouldering at the Niagara Glen visit

References: Ritchie, R. A. (2002). Niagara Glen trail management system: Executive summary. Niagara Parks Commission. Roth, J. (2007). Glen nebula: Big trouble in little Niagara. Climbing Magazine, 259.

Source: Garrett Hutson, PhD., Associate Professor, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Brock University, 905-688-5550 ext. 4784, email:
Retrieved From: e-mail correspondence

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