Rowing, canoe kayak, open water swims, triathlons and dragon boating are returning to Welland International Flatware Centre.
“We are excited to have a return of all the sport disciplines,” said Erin Carl, Welland community services supervisor of festivals and events.
“The events will be hosted by local clubs/organizations to national sport organizations.”
One of the returning events is the Welland Dragon Boat Festival hosted by Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre, on June 11.
Carl said the number of events to be held is close to pre-pandemic numbers.
In 2019, the last full year of operation for the centre before it was closed in 2020 due to COVID-19 mandates and restrictions, 20 were events held at the Townline Road facility.
Last year, 11 events were held on the waters of the recreational canal.
“Clubs and organizations have been submitting their special event applications and confirming their event dates with the city,” said Carl.
She expected to see flatwater events, along with other confirmed events in Welland, on the city’s website soon.
“Staff are open to working with new organizations and groups to host events at the flatwater centre and the city. We are continuing to work and grow the network of event partners.”
Carl said annual maintenance and scheduled repairs are being completed to ensure the venue is operational for the flatwater season and the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
The Games — Aug. 6 to 21 — will bring canoe kayak, open water swimming and triathlon events to the flatwater centre.
Other facilities in the Rose City to be used during the games include Youngs Sportsplex, Welland Baseball Stadium and Welland Tennis Club.
“The city continues to work with Niagara 2022 to make sure all venues are ready to host the Games.”
Carl said the city is looking for volunteers to come out and be a part of all the events on and off the water.
“We will be sending out a call to volunteers. If people from the community would like to have their contact information put on the distribution list, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org or go onto the city’s website to complete the online form.”
She said the Canada Games is looking for volunteers. People can register at niagara2022games.ca/get-involved/volunteering.
While things are getting ready for the on-water return, the city will also open the new Empire Sportsplex, 11 Shaw St., in the upper parking lot of the flatwater centre in May.
The $2.75-million multi-court sports facility is being built at the centre by Empire Communities, which has two developments in Dain City that will support as many as 2,000 new homes.
Empire is contributing $500,000 for naming rights over the next 10 years.
The sports facility will have six dedicated pickleball courts, three tennis courts with line overlay for pickleball courts, five beach volleyball courts, one full basketball court, two half-basketball courts, washrooms, and office and equipment storage space.
It will also include a nearby splash pad, funded by Canadian Tire Jumpstart at $300,000.