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2012 Ontario Summer Games Underway Following Opening Ceremony

release by the 2012 Ontario Summer Games

August 17, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – Almost 2,500 of Ontario’s best young athletes marched into Varsity Stadium tonight to the cheers of thousands of spectators for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games (OSG) – Ontario’s largest multi-sport event. The ceremony kicked off the 28-sport amateur athletic competition, which takes place from August 16 to 19 at multiple venues across Toronto and the surrounding areas of Brampton, Caledon, Oshawa, St. Catharines and Welland.

Bringing the athletes messages of encouragement and support were the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport; Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee; Rahul Bhardwaj, Chair of the 2012 OSG Organizing Committee; Karen Pitre, Vice Chair of the OSG Organizing Committee; and Holly Abraham, Chair of Sport Alliance Ontario.

Athletes and fans were dazzled throughout the opening ceremony with athletic and musical performances including the National Anthem sung by the Regent Park School of Music, acrobat trampoliners Circus Orange, the five-time international cheerleading champions Power Cheer, and a musical finale from Toronto’s own band Neverest. The opening ceremony ended with the swearing of the athletes’ and officials’ oaths and the lighting of the OSG cauldron.

“The McGuinty Government is proud to help kick off the 2012 Ontario Summer Games, promoting our province’s talented young athletes who will one day represent Ontario and represent Canada in national and international arenas,” said Minister Chan. “Exciting events like the Ontario Summer Games and the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games firmly place Ontario on the map as a premier sporting destination – attracting tourists into our communities that will help boost our economy while celebrating athletic excellence.”

“I commend the personal dedication and hard work that you, our young athletes, are demonstrating to your sports in the pursuit of excellence,” said Councillor Kelly. “Some of you may be back in Toronto in three years to compete in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games – the largest multi-sport event Canada has ever hosted and Ontario’s first international multi-sport event in more than 75 years.”

Holly Abraham, Chair of Sport Alliance Ontario, who inspired the athletes to dream big, said, “Your dreams begin here. Over the nextthree days you will strive to be the best and to have all your training and all your hard work pay off. Whether it does or does not get you to the podium, your dreams are bigger than this weekend. They go beyond Ontario, beyond Canada, to the global stage. Sport Alliance Ontario is proud to have supported you to this stage, and will be here for you as you continue down the path to excellence.”

“More than 1,000 volunteers help to make these Games happen. Their commitment over the last several months has been astounding,” said Rahul Bhardwaj, Chair of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games. “This is the power of sport: to bring communities together, to challenge ourselves and each other and grow together. The Playing for Keeps Legacy project of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games will take the bonds these Games have created in our community and extend them for years to come, unleashing the power of sport and play in every corner of Toronto.”

Further information about Playing for Keeps is available at www.playingforkeeps.ca.

The City of Toronto is pleased to partner with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sport Alliance Ontario, the Toronto Sports Council and Tourism Toronto in staging the 2012 Ontario Summer Games.

Further information about the Games sports and schedules is available at www.2012ontariosummergames.ca.

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