National Context:

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing 2016 National Report – How Are Canadians Really Doing? Shows that, between 1994 and 2014 in Canada:

  • Overall participation in at least 15 minutes of physical activity such as walking, cycling, exercise, sports, gardening and dancing has risen steadily, from 21 to 28 times per month (an overall increase of 31.2%).  
  • Men reported almost two more episodes of physical activity a month than women in 2014, and the rising trend was the same for both genders.
  • Younger Canadians under age 25 are the most active, and rates are almost identical for all other age groups from 25 to 74 years
  • Older adults are increasingly embracing more active lifestyles, which bodes well for health in later life.

Source: Canadian Index of Wellbeing National Report, 2016: How are Canadians Really Doing?
Retrieved from:

Sport and Belonging

More than 50% of Canadians are involved in community-level sport as participants, spectators, volunteers, coaches or officials. A 2015 Community Foundations of Canada community belonging report produced in partnership with True Sport Foundation shows that 85% of Canadians agree that participation in sport builds stronger communities; benefits individuals who participate; brings people together; builds social capital; and fosters inclusion of excluded groups.

Source:  Community Foundations of Canada
Retrieved from:

Sport and Youth Development

A 2017 Youth REX (Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange) report identifies that sport is an important for psychosocial development in youth, particularly for youth who face multiple barriers and vulnerabilities. This report summarizes the current state of research on youth development within community-based sport and/or physical activity programs, and identifies best practices for fostering youth development within these contexts. It provides recommendations for community-based youth sport programmers to incorporate positive youth development frameworks, approaches, and strategies into their programs.

Source: YouthREX School of Social Work York University
Retrieved from:

Recreation Facilities in Local Municipalities in the Niagara Region

The annual Financial Information Return (FIR) is available on the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website. This data collection tool is used to collect financial and statistical information from municipalities across Ontario on an annual basis.

The FIR information shows that in total in 2016, across all 12 lower-tier municipalities in Niagara, there is a total of:

  • 404 kilometres of trails
  • 167,559 square metres of outdoor recreation facility space
  • 910,406 square metres of indoor recreation facilities

The following is a breakdown of the above regional totals by lower-tier municipality:

Recreation Space by Local Municipality

*Figures for Grimsby, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Port Colborne, and Wainfleet are for 2015.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. FIR2016 Data by Municipality.
Retrieved from:

The following table is a sample of the Arenas dataset from the Niagara Open Data Portal. There are 33 records in the dataset.

Arenas dataset from the Niagara Open Data Portal

Niagara Region. (2016, February 22). Arenas [Data file]. Retrieved from

Sports Clubs and Facilities in the Niagara Region is based on openly-shared data provided by , a St. Catharines-based data analytics company.  

The data is made available as an open csv file, and in data visualization format on Tableau Public.

The set includes 458 Sports Clubs and Facilities in the Niagara region.  

Of the 458, indoor facilities comprise 180; and 278 are outdoor facilities.

Of the 458, the top 5 categories by facility type are:

  • Golf – 150
  • Ice Hockey – 58
  • Martial Arts – 49
  • Soccer – 39
  • Baseball – 36

Go to map:!/vizhome/openRaspberry_v4_0/ClubsFacilities  

Sports Clubs and Facilities in the Niagara Region

The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport maintains a directory of provincial sport associations, many of which have Niagara chapters.

Source:  Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Retrieved from:

Niagara Recreation and Sports is a co-ed recreational sports organization that offers various co-ed sports leagues to adults in the Niagara region. Their website includes information on sports leagues and events.

Source: Niagara Recreation and Sports
Retrieved from:

New and Upgraded Recreation and Sport Facilities in Niagara

  • A new $23.6 million multi-use, fully accessible recreation site is being developed in West Lincoln, including an arena and wellness centre, as well as a skate park, both to open in 2018.  

Source:  Township of West Lincoln
Retrieved from:

  • In 2018, the Town of Pelham will open a new, $36.2-million multi-use twin ice pad and dual-gymnasium centre with a large multipurpose room and walking track.

Source: Town of Pelham
Retrieved from:

  • In 2017, the City of Thorold re-opened the Frank Doherty arena, after the Thorold Community Arenas complex underwent a $3 million renovation and upgrade. The size of dressing rooms was doubled; washrooms were upgraded to meet new provincial accessibility guidelines; the entrance area was upgraded, including installation of a water bottle filling station in the lobby with funds from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge; and a new ice pad was installed.  

Source: City of Thorold
Retrieved from:

  • The 5300-seat, $52.5-million Meridian Centre facility opened in downtown St. Catharines in September, 2014. The arena is home to the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League. In December, 2015 the Niagara River Lions, the 9th expansion team of the National Basketball League of Canada launched its inaugural season at the Centre. Also located at Meridian Centre is the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1990 to recognize outstanding accomplishments of men and women, athletes and builders who have contributed to the development of sport in St. Catharines.

Source:  Meridian Centre
Retrieved from:

Bike Friendly Municipalities

Bike Friendly Municipalities are designated by the Ontario Share the Road Cycling Coalition. In 2017, 39 communities in Ontario have received a Bicycle Friendly Designation. Of these, 6 of the municipalities are located in the Niagara Region:

  • Pelham – Silver
  • Grimsby – Bronze
  • Niagara Falls – Bronze
  • St. Catharines – Bronze
  • Thorold – Bronze
  • Welland – Bronze

Source: Share the Road Cycling Coalition, 2017. Bicycle Friendly Communities.
Retrieved from:

The Tourism Partnership of Niagara produced the Niagara Cycling Tourism Report in early 2016 to show the effect that cycling has on the tourism industry in Niagara.

Source: Tourism Partnership of Niagara
Retrieved from:

Additional information about cycling tourism and active transportation is included in the Transportation and Mobility Sector and the Economic Prosperity Sector of this report.

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