Special Olympics Canada Unveils Thunder Bay, Ontario as host for the Special Olympics Canada 2020 Winter Games

Thunder Bay

August 18, 2017 – Special Olympics Canada announced today that Thunder Bay has been awarded the  2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

The finalists were Thunder Bay and Regina, Saskatchewan.

The bid theme is “Hearts of Gold” to highlight Thunder Bay’s community spirit and the fact that 2020 will be the City of Thunder Bay’s 50th Golden Anniversary year.

“Special Olympics Canada is thrilled that Thunder Bay will be the home of the 2020 Winter Games,” said Blair McIntosh, V.P. Sport with Special Olympics Canada. “Thunder Bay has an excellent reputation as a host for winter sport events, and hosted Special Olympics Ontario’s 2011 Provincial Summer Games. We are excited to bring participants from across all 12 Chapters to compete at these National Winter Games, Special Olympics Canada’s signature sport competition, and all the excitement it will bring to the area.”

Acting Mayor and Bid Committee Member Linda Rydholm is excited for the opportunity for Thunder Bay to host the many athletes and visitors taking part in the Games in 2020. “Thank you to the local Special Olympics athletes, the Thunder Bay Bid Committee and the community at-large for their contributions in bringing the Games to Thunder Bay,” said Rydholm. “Visitors will experience the golden hearts of Thunder Bay.”

“Thank you to Special Olympics Canada for showing their faith and trust in our team and our community,” said Bid Committee Chair Paul Burke. “We look forward to showing our northern hospitality to Special Olympics athletes from across Canada. Thank you to all the members of our Bid Committee and the companies who came forward to support the bid. We will enjoy this moment for now and are ready for the hard work ahead.”

The Special Olympics Canada Games began in 1974 and are national multi-sport Games for athletes with an intellectual disability. The Winter Games are held every four years and were last held in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland in 2016 where the estimated economic impact was $5.4 million. The event includes 8 sports: alpine skiing, 5-pin bowling, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating. The Games will require approximately 750 volunteers and a budget of over $2 million.

Bid supporters include tbaytel, Thunder Bay International Airport Authority, Union Gas, Tourism Northern Ontario, Mallons Promotional Clothing and Products, Dougall Media and the Chronicle-Journal.

For info visit getthegames.ca.

Contact: Paul Burke, Special Events Developer, 625-2305    


Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 42,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 20,000 volunteers, including more than 15,000 trained coaches.  For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SpecialOCanada).


Allison Love,
Communications Officer
Special Olympics Canada
Cell. | Cel +1 416-301-4636