Could Burlington become a major focal point for the 2030 Commonwealth Games?

By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2023



In 1930 Hamilton hosted what was then known as the British Empire Games.

Given that Britain is no longer an Empire, the Games are now known as the Commonwealth Games.

There is a movement to bring those games back to the Hamilton area – but this time with a tighter focus on Burlington where the private sector has come forward with a different approac0h that aligns its interests with those of the Commonwealth Games.

The traditional path for large International sports events was to get a city to agree to be the venue for the Olympics, FIFA events or the Pan Am Games and to put up all the money.

These things cost a fortune and it often takes decades for the cost of the infrastructure that has to be built is fully paid for.

The group preparing a Bid for the 100th Anniversary event that would bring the Commonwealth Games to Burlington area is being led at this point by Alinea, a corporation that owns the 50 hectare property that is between Hwy 403 and the railway line with the eastern border being King Road and the Aldershot GO station on the west.

A property that has been waiting decades for the right development to come along.

The Federal Government has yet to make a formal funding commitment.  The understanding is that they are waiting for a provincial funding commitment before that announce. The province has people working on documentation that needs to be completed before the province can commit.  There are municipalities that are prepared to host events. Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Catharines, Burlington and Mississauga are among those will be meeting with the Bid organization on the 19th – where the objective is to get local support for a pitch to the provincial government.

The Bid group is quick to point out that the meetings with the municipal sector is not an ask for financial support.

These always involve a lot of jockeying back and forth before everything falls into place.

At a Chamber of Commerce breakfast before the holidays the Bid Group made a presentation that closed with ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith asking what Burlington can do. Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna was sitting at the same table as Galbraith and while he didn’t speak at the time he is known to be a very strong supporter of sports in the community.

Citizens on a tour of the 50 hectare King Road property that could be a Commonwealth Games Athletes Village

Hamilton was at one point the energy behind the development of a Bid. The Mayor at the time, Fred Eisenberg, was incredibly supportive.  But council as a whole was undecided; it did vote to support exploring the opportunity further – they have not yet had an opportunity to formally consider the matter.

With Andrea Horwath now wearing the Chain of Office in Hamilton that might change.

The story of the Commonwealth Games and the start it got back in 1930 is to a very large degree a Burlington story.

Highly regarded Bobby Robinson was the driving force who put in place many of the rules that made the games what they have become.

Expect to hear a lot more about an event, six years away, that could define what the Burlington we know today become in 2030. There is some momentum building up.

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1 comment to Could Burlington become a major focal point for the 2030 Commonwealth Games?

  • Grahame

    I assume the idea is to build housing for the Athletes that could be easily converted to low income housing later?