Ontario Games Bid Guidelines

Ontario Games Overview

The Province of Ontario and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) is excited to release the bid guidelines for upcoming Ontario Games from 2018 through to 2021. The Province is set to deliver five multi-sport Games showcasing Ontario’s athletes and communities. The Games offers participants, volunteers and spectators an opportunity to experience the excitement of multi-sport Games, while leaving behind an important legacy of community pride and sport tourism development. Since 1970, the Games have brought some of the best athletes in the province together to reach for their dreams and pursue excellence in sport. Guidelines for the following Games are included:

  • 2018 & 2020 Ontario Winter Games
  • 2018 & 2020 Ontario Summer Games
  • 2018 & 2020 Ontario 55+ Summer Games
  • 2019 & 2021 Ontario 55+ Winter Games
  • 2019 & 2021 Ontario ParaSport Games

New for 2018-2021

As of April 2015, the Ontario Games program is being delivered directly through MTCS. Since April 2015, MTCS has been assessing the Ontario Games and engaging stakeholders in a review of the Games. Feedback has been collected and MTCS is moving forward with several changes to the Games program to make hosting more attractive to the municipality. Some of the key changes include Hosting Grant Amounts, Deficit Guarantor and Legacy Fund, Host Community Supports and Revised Bid Timelines.

Hosting Grant Amounts

For the first time since 2008, hosting grant amounts will be increased for the 2018-2021 Games cycle. The increase in hosting grants are necessary to better reflect the current sport hosting environment and the increase in key costs (accommodations, meals, transportation) over the past eight years.

Previous and New Hosting Grant Amounts
Games Previous Hosting Grant Amount New Hosting Grant Amount
Ontario Winter Games
Ontario Summer Games
$600,000 $1,000,000
Ontario 55+ Winter Games
Ontario 55+ Summer Games
Ontario ParaSport Games $60,000 $110,000


Deficit Guarantor & Legacy Fund

Based on feedback from Municipalities, the deficit guarantor was a major deterrent to hosting the Ontario Games and this requirement has been removed. Moving forward, MTCS will hold additional funding to be used to cover any deficits as a result from hosting the Games. Should a host municipality run a deficit, the additional funds can be accessed for that purpose. If no deficit occurs the host municipality would receive the full amount to be used for agreed upon Games legacy initiatives.

Additional Funding / Potential Legacy Fund
Games Additional Funding / Potential Legacy Fund
Ontario Winter Games
Ontario Summer Games
Ontario 55+ Winter Games
Ontario 55+ Summer Games
Ontario ParaSport Games $10,000


Host Community Supports

Several assets have been acquired by MTCS that will be held as part of a central inventory that can be used by host communities. These assets will help reduce the cost of hosting as well as provide a consistent Games experience leading up to and during the Ontario Games. Assets include:

  • Signage & Signage Equipment
  • Podiums
  • Cauldron
  • Medal Trays
  • Additional equipment - extension cords, power strips, tents

Revised Bid Timelines

Starting for the bid process for the 2020 Ontario Winter Games, host selection will occur three years in advance of hosting the Games versus the traditional two years. The extra time will help host municipalities prepare to host the Ontario Games.

Ontario Games Bid Timelines 2018-2021

Ontario Winter/Summer Games Bid Timelines
Task 2018 Ontario Winter Games 2018 Ontario Summer Games 2020 Ontario Winter Games 2020 Ontario Summer Games
Letter of Intent Due February 29, 2016 March 31, 2016 September 30, 2016 February 28, 2017
Bid Submission Due March 31, 2016 May 31, 2016 December 15, 2016 May 15, 2017
Site Review April 2016 June 2016 January 2017 June 2017
Official Announcement April 2016 August 2016 March 2017 August 2017
Event Dates Early March 2018 August 2018 Early March 2020 August 2020

Ontario 55+ Winter/Summer Games Bid Timelines
Task 2018 Ontario 55+ Summer Games 2019 Ontario 55+ Winter Games 2020 Ontario 55+ Summer Games 2021 Ontario 55+ Winter Games
Letter of Intent Due March 15, 2016 September 30, 2016 December 18, 2016 September 30, 2017
Bid Submission Due May 15, 2016 November 30, 2016 May 30, 2017 November 30, 2017
Site Review June 2016 December 2016 June 2017 December 2017
Official Announcement August 2016 February 2017 Fall 2017 February 2018
Event Dates August 2018 February 2019 August 2020 February 2021

Ontario ParaSport Games Bid Timelines
Task 2019 Ontario ParaSport Games 2021 Ontario ParaSport Games
Letter of Intent Due September 30, 2016 September 30, 2017
Bid Submission Due December 15, 2016 December 15, 2017
Site Review January 2017 January 2018
Official Announcement March 2017 March 2018
Event Dates Early March 2019 Early March 2021


Ontario Games Quick Facts/Information

Facts and Figures
Ontario Games Participants Sports Economic Impact Frequency (Bi-Annual)
Winter Games 2,700 - 3,500 22-27 $6 million + Even Years
Summer Games 3,000 - 3,500 22-27 $6 million + Even Years
ParaSport Games 400+ 8-10 $500,000 + Odd Years
55+ Winter Games 800 - 1,100+ 10-12 $2 million + Odd Years
55+ Summer Games 1,300 - 1,500 16-20 $2 million + Even Years


Why host the Games?

Host municipalities can expect to:

  • Increase economic activity and tourism to the community and region;
  • Develop a strong base of qualified volunteers in the community;
  • Build community spirit and pride.

What support does the province provide?

The province will support host communities by providing:

  • Community consultations on bidding process;
  • An advisory team to help support host communities every step of the way;
  • Hosting grants to off-set costs;
  • Assistance managing all Games stakeholder relationships;
  • Games resources such signage, podiums and equipment to help off-set the costs.

Ontario Games Bidding Process

Letter of Intent

Municipalities interested in submitted a bid for any of the five Games are required to submit a letter of intent to the MTCS by the date outlined above. The letter of intent will provide an opportunity for MTCS to make direct contact with you to provide assistance in preparation for the bid.

Note: Submitting a letter of intent does not commit a community to submitting a bid, it provides an opportunity to consult with the MTCS to discuss aspects of your bid and ensure that you are able to put forth the best bid for your community.

To ensure a fair and equal bidding process, questions and additional information about the Games will be shared with all communities who have submitted letters of intent.  

Bid Submission

Municipalities must prepare a bid submission that includes all items listed under the Bid Requirements section. At least one hard copy and one electronic copy of the Bid Submission must be received at the MTCS by the deadline set out above. Original copies of each letter of reference are required in the hard copy Bid Submission.

Bid Review & Site Visits

MTCS will appoint a Site Review Committee (SRC) which will evaluate each Bid Submission based on the requirements outlined in the Bid Guidelines. The SRC is comprised of individuals from MTCS, Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) and professionals with experience in hosting multi-sport games and bid evaluation. ParaSport Ontario and Ontario Senior Games Association will be directly involved in the evaluation of Bid Submissions and the Site Review Committee for their respective Games. The SRC will identify a short list of communities for site visits based on the written submission and evaluation.

The site visit provides the SRC with an opportunity to further assess the strengths and weaknesses of each Bid Submission. In addition, the SRC will be provided with an opportunity to ask any questions and get clarification on the Bid Submission. If required, any further details or clarification requested by the SRC must be submitted within one week of request. The Site Review also allows the community the opportunity to strengthen and enhance components of their written bid submission.

Recommendation to Minister

After completion of the evaluation process a recommendation will be put forward for approval to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Official Announcement of Successful Community

Upon receiving final approval, MTCS will notify the successful community and make arrangements for a formal announcement.

Elements of your Bid Submissions

The Bid Submission must provide a clear indication of how your community would successful host the Ontario Games. Each of the following sections summarizes the critical areas of responsibility for a successful Games. Each area of responsibility includes a list of mandatory requirements; failing to meet the mandatory requirements will result in a Bid Submission that is incomplete.


The delivery of the Games is a partnership between the Host Community, MTCS and/or ParaSport Ontario and Ontario Senior Games Association. It is an exciting opportunity to showcase your community to the rest of the Province. It is important to provide a rationale for your municipality’s decision to bid for one of the Ontario Games. Each Host Community will be responsible for forming a Games Organizing Committee (GOC) and developing a transition plan between the bid submission and a working GOC. The Committee will be comprised of dedicated volunteers who delivery on the various components of the Games.


All appendices referenced in the Bid Guidelines are available by emailing Ryan Albright, Games Program Advisor.

Bid Submission Requirements

  • Community Overview (including achievements);
  • Community Support;
    • Resolution from Municipal Council indicating a support for a bid;
    • Proposed Financial Contribution from Council;
  • Games Organizing Committee Structure (Appendix B - Sample GOC Structure);
    • Organizing Chart identifying proposed Committee Members;
    • Transition Plan between Bid Submissios and a working GOC.


MTCS provides operating grants for each of the five Ontario Games. Please refer to Appendix C for a summary of expenses that the operating grant must be used for when delivering the Games. In addition, each Host Community will collect registration fees outline below for each participant.

Hosting Grant, Registration Fees, Anticipated Total Registration Fees
Games Hosting Grant Registration Fees Anticipated Total Registration Fees**
Ontario Summer Games
Ontario Winter Games
$900,000 $110 (Athletes) $200,000
Ontario 55+ Winter Games
Ontario 55+ Summer Games
$210,000 $150 (Participants)
$250+ (Non-Participants)
Ontario ParaSport Games $100,000 $110 (Athletes & Support Staff) $30,000
** Total registration fees will vary based on the number of registrants. MTCS reserves the right to modify registration fees 12 months prior to the Games.

  • Major officials for all Games do not pay a registration fee and they are provided with meals and accommodations;
  • Coaches and Managers for the Ontario Winter/Summer Games and Ontario ParaSport Games do not pay a registration fee and they are provided with meals and accommodation;
  • District Coordinators for the Ontario Senior Games pay the participant registration fee and are provided with meals and accommodations.

Bid Submission Requirements:

  • Proposed Budget included all anticipated revenues and expenditures. (Appendix D/E - Sample Ontario Games Budget);
  • Ontario Winter/Summer Games, Ontario 55+ Winter/Summer Games must include a General Manager Position;
  • Potential sources of revenue generation;
  • Risk Management Plan (Deficit/Surplus);
  • Legacy Plan.

Sport Technical

Sport Selection Process - Ontario Winter/Summer Games & Ontario ParaSport Games:

MTCS will develop a Sport Selection Application process for all recognized Ontario Provincial Sport Organization. The purpose of the application process is to ensure that all sports are using the Games as an integral part of their Athlete, Coach and Official Development. A final sport list including anticipated participation numbers will be provided to the host community at least 18 months prior to competition.

Communities can anticipate approximately 3,500 participants in 24-30 sports at both the Ontario Winter/Summer Games and 400 participants in 8-10 sports at the Ontario ParaSport Games.

Sport Selection Process - Ontario 55+ Winter/Summer Games:

The Ontario Senior Games Association Board of Directors will designate its sports for the each Ontario 55+ Games. The designation of events is determined using the most current participation statistics. This breakdown, along with the maximum number of participants per sport, will be decided at their Annual General Meeting at least 18 months prior to the Games.

Sport Technical Overview:

A list of current sports and participant numbers for all five sets of Games is outlined in Appendix F. In addition, sport technical information (minimum and ideal standards) specific to each sport is outline in Appendix G – Winter and Appendix H – Summer. Communities can determine the feasibility of hosting a set of Games by completing a Venue/Sport evaluation form included in Appendix I.A bidding community is required to complete one form for each sport identifying how their designated facilities meet the technical requirements.

It is the intention that a selected community will have the ability to host all the sports selected to the Games. However, MTCS understands this is not always possible and should not deter a community from bidding on the Games. Being able to accommodate all sports will factor in in grading a bid but is not the sole determinant in selecting a host.


Each host community is responsible for obtaining (purchase, rental or borrow) and transporting all the necessary equipment required for each Sport. The GOC will work directly with the PSO, ParaSport Ontario and Ontario Senior Games Association to identify and secure necessary equipment. Most equipment required to host the Games can be borrowed from PSO or local sport clubs.

Important: MTCS reserves the right to alter the sport list and participant numbers up to one year prior to the respective set of Games without exceeding the maximum of 3,500 participants for the Ontario Winter/Summer Games. There is a possibility that a sport will apply to be included in the Ontario Winter/Summer Games is not included within the bid guidelines. If they are selected to be included in the Games, MTCS will consult the host community on their ability to provide the necessary venue.


  • Don’t forgot to be creative when determining how to play host to all the sports for the Ontario Winter/Summer Games; consider hosting the event on back-to-back weekends, or consecutive days (Tuesday-Thursday & Friday-Sunday) or partner with surrounding communities to host all sports;
  • Contact the MTCS to generate some ideas on how your community can meet the needs of the sports for each set of Ontario Games;
  • Contact Provincial Sport Organizations, Ontario Senior Games Association, and ParaSport Ontario to put together detailed sport technical packages which will answer all the questions you need to know about each sport;
  • Secure tentative contracts or written agreements with designated venues which will also enhance your bid submission.

Bid Requirements:

  • A Venue/Sport evaluation form for each sport identifying designated venues (i.e. – playing surface dimensions, length/width/depth of the pools);
  • A map outlining facility locations including travel distances between accommodations and venues;
  • Identify the proposal date of the Games;
  • Identify a plan for timely collection and management of results;
  • Outline how medals ceremonies will be conducted.

Accommodations & Meals

The quality of a participant’s accommodation is critical to their performance and experience. It is important to provide the appropriate care and comfort for all participants based on the following requirements.

  • Athletes, Coaches, Managers will reside within close proximity of one another creating an “Athletes Village” atmosphere. (University residences, close hotels etc.);
  • All linens and pillows must be provided by the host community;
  • In a standard room at a hotel, one person per bed with a maximum of three per room;
  • Due to varied sport schedules no more than one team or sport can be roomed together. i.e., participants must be separated by sport, team or region (where possible);
  • Participants must be separated by gender within rooms (ideal target – gender based floors);
  • Coaches and athletes cannot share rooms unless in a dormitory style setting in which case two or more adults may be accommodated in a dormitory with minors;
  • Accommodations must be made available to participants for the duration of the Games. (Opening Ceremonies to completion of their competition);
  • Identify an accommodation plan for family and fields of the participants so they can come to enjoy the experience.

Athletes’ performances are very dependent on the quality and quantity of the food they receive. As many sports’ competitions schedules differ it is important to be flexible to meet the needs of all sports. It is also important that all meals are well balanced and nutritious. Plenty of water and snacks must be made available as well.

MTCS requires all host communities to provide three meals per day based on the attached Meal Requirements and Guidelines (Appendix J)


  • In a hotel setting, if larger than standard rooms are used to accommodate athletes, the maximum number of athletes per room maybe negotiated with MTCS;
  • Securing tentative contracts or written agreements with designated accommodations will enhance your bid;
  • Connect with accommodation and meal providers to ensure accurate budget numbers are reported in the bid. Past host communities have understated their accommodations and meals budget resulting in immediate pressure on their budget;
  • Participants will check out of their hotel on the morning of last day of competition for their sport. Additional accommodation nights may be required for participants travelling long distances at the conclusion of competition.

Bid Requirements:

  • Identify proposed location(s) for the Athlete’s  Village;
  • Identify accommodation location(s) on a venue map;
  • Address all requirements outlined above and how they will be taken into account when selecting accommodations;
  • Identify the number of fully and partially accessible rooms;
  • Provide a meal plan for registered participants, officials and volunteers.


External Transportation – All participants of PSOs are responsible for organizing their own transportation to the host community but the host community is required to adopt the travel policies specific to each set of Games. Please see Appendix K for the Games Travel Subsidy Policy. As per the policy, all host communities must make all necessary arrangements to pick up participants at the closest airport and train/bus stations.

Internal Transportation – It is the responsibility of the GOC to make all necessary transportation arrangements to and from venues and ceremonies for accredited Games participants. The internal transportation schedule must take into account the competition schedule of the sports and what would provide optimal competition environment for the athletes.


  • Communities can consider multiple transportation options include municipal buses, school buses and motor coaches;
  • Each sport will require their own unique transportation schedule; some sports will require one transport to venue in morning and one to hotel in evening. Other sports will require a shuttle throughout the day;
  • At conclusion of the competition, no transportation is provided except to participants going to airport, train or bus stations;
  • Connect with transportation providers to ensure accurate budget numbers are reported in bid.

Bid Requirements:

  • Provide a transportation plan for accredited Games participants from accommodations to sport venues and ceremonies (Note: Accessible transportation must be provided for the Ontario ParaSport Games and sports/participants integrated into the Ontario Winter/Summer Games);
  • Within the transportation plan identify the closest airport, train and bus station and how participants will be transported to and from each.


Any event would not be a success without the support of numerous volunteers in the community. In hosting the Ontario Games the host community must recruit, train and recognize the efforts of the following number of volunteers for each event:

  • Ontario Winter/Summer Games – 1,000-1,200 Volunteers;
  • Ontario 55+ Winter/Summer Games – 400-500 Volunteers;
  • Ontario ParaSport Games – 200-300 Volunteers.

Bid Requirements:

  • A plan to recruit, train, coordinator and recognize the volunteers;
  • Outline how volunteers will be fed;
  • A plan to do policy checks and screening on all volunteers who will be working in direct contact with Games participants;
  • Identify sport groups or clubs that would have volunteer available to provide technical support during the Games.

Marketing & Communications

An important part of any event is awareness building within the community and province wide. This is accomplished through a comprehensive marketing and communications plan. This can be done through television, radio and/or print ads, website and much more. In addition, this area would work directly with Sport Technical services and results in the development of a plan to appropriately distribute information while the Games are ongoing. In accordance with the French Language Services Act it is important that many of the materials for the Ontario Games are provided in both official languages. Please refer to Appendix L for a list of French Language Services Requirements.


  • As the primary funder of the Ontario Games program, the Province of Ontario and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is recognized in all Games related materials and communications;
  • Host communities are required to secure the domain for their Games.

Bid Requirements:

  • Identify a media and communication centre location and pick up;
  • Include a media plan;
  • Identify a plan to address French Language Service Requirements.

Special Events

The Opening Ceremonies is an opportunity for the host community to be creative and set the tone for the Games. For many athletes the Ontario Games is the highlight of their athletic career and this is an opportunity to recognize them and their achievements. In addition, it is also an opportunity to recognize the support of sponsors, family and the community for everything they have done to make the event possible.


  • It is highly recommended to only host an Opening Ceremonies for the Ontario Winter/Summer Games and Ontario ParaSport Games due to varying competition schedules;
  • Ontario 55+ Winter/Summer Games requires an Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as events/entertainment on the “Middle Night”. Furthermore, a formal dinner is required on the last day.

Bid Requirements:

  • Identify suggested programs and a proposed venue for the Opening Ceremonies;
  • Provide a plan for a VIP Reception during the event;
  • Outline how medals will be presented;
  • Identify if any other special events are planned (i.e. banquet, BBQ, dances).

Registration & Accreditation

MTCS has an existing registration system and website server that will be used by each host community. This system will accommodate the registration of volunteers and participants of the Games. The host community is responsible for all registrations within the system and will work in partnership with MTCS to resolve any issues to ensure the registration process is simple and quick process.

It is also important that all participants, volunteers, medical staff, etc. are properly identified and accredited in order to participate in the Games. On-site registration is the first impress participants have of the Games; therefore an effective and efficient plan will have a positive impact.

Bid Requirements:

  • Identify plans for Games registration including athletes, volunteers, VIPs and media;
  • Provide a plan for on-site registration and accreditation including venues, etc.


The need for medical support during any Games is essential. It is important to develop a plan for daily athletic therapy, first aid and medical emergencies.


  • The Provincial Sport Organizations identify their medical requirements through their Sport Technical Packages. This information is available to host communities after they have been awarded the Games;
  • MTCS has acquired some medical supplies to help support the host community care for the participants.

Bid Requirements:

Provide an overall medical plan for the Games including:
  • Identify medical professionals in the community that will commit their support to the Games (i.e., physiotherapists, athletic therapists, doctors etc.);
  • Identify local hospitals and medical services available in the community;
  • Identify plans for any other medical support (i.e., Physio/Medical Clinics at athletes village).

Participation Experience

The Ontario Games are meant to be a unique experience for all participants. For some athletics, this is the pinnacle of their athletic careers, for others this is a step on their path to Canada Games, Olympics/Paralympics and this multi-sport Games experience can contribute to their development. Some questions to consider for your bid?

  • What additional things can my community offer that will add to a participant’s experience?
  • What can my community do to assist with athlete, coach and official development during the Games? (Clinics, Information Sessions)
  • What will participants do in the community during downtime? (Evenings, between competitions)
  • What opportunities can the community provide to allow for cross sport interaction? (Spectating other sports, central feeding locations, etc.)

Bid Requirements:

  • Identify how the community plans to contribute to the Participant experience. (e.g., clustering athlete’s village, hosting additional social events, athlete/coach education events);
  • Identify any initiatives that will make the participant experience unique to your community.


A legacy is important for the host community; the Ontario Games should have an impact on the community before, during and after the Games. Communities need to develop a legacy plan and consider what legacies will result (both direct and indirect) from hosting the Ontario Games.

  • What sort of legacies does the community expect from the Games?
  • If there is a financial surplus at the conclusion of the Games how will that be handled?

Bid Requirements:

  • Identify a legacy plan for your community – how will it be achieved, what resources will be committed and how the community will ensure the legacy plan is executed after the Games.