A Gold Medal Weekend: The Guelph Games

This Canada Day weekend The Guelph Games are taking over Exhibition Park for the very first time to bring a Masters-level competition to the Royal City. From July 1st to July 3rd, spectators are invited to watch athletes compete across 6 sporting events while exploring the fun (and games) of this family-friendly festival.

How it started

A little over five years ago, The Games’ Founder, Helen Stoumbos saw on opportunity while on the Board of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. As a former Team Canada soccer player (and the first Canadian athlete to score a goal in a soccer match at a world competition), Helen wanted to see Guelph host a soccer tournament. After talking to an acquaintance who ran the Americas Masters, they recommended a Masters Championship where athletes over 30 could compete with others at the top of their game. Seeing similarities between the small Utah town that hosts The Huntsman Games and the facilities offered by the University of Guelph and the City of Guelph, Helen and her mighty team took the idea and ran with it. After a two-year pandemic delay but a very successful Games Day in the summer of 2021, The Guelph Games are officially ready to roll so we spoke with Mike F. Jean, The Games’ Chief Marketing Officer, to find out more.

The games

Athletes over 30 will descend upon Guelph this weekend to compete in six different sports: basketball, grass volleyball, pickleball, three pitch, 5v5 soccer, and a 5K trail run set to take place at the University of Guelph’s Arboretum.

But it’s not all just games – they wanted to bring on the fun, too. “We wanted athletes to have a really really good time,” says Jean. “Adding a community festival to that seemed like a no brainer!”

Drawing inspiration from the concept of an Olympic village, the planning committee wanted to make sure there was plenty to see and do, too. The Games will feature food trucks, a beer garden, and plenty of family fun.

Fun for the whole Family

Exhibition Park will also be bursting with health and fitness-focused activities: games, music and contests accessible for all ages. Reflecting on the expense of many family-friendly activities, The Games’s planning committee focused on FREE.

“We wanted to create something where people could show up with a picnic blanket and still have a really great day.”

Not to be missed are the Indigenous welcome ceremony and hoop dance performance, the Nighthawks’ QMack, and an arm wrestling competition!

Getting Around Guelph

Speaking of free – Visit Guelph is excited to be sponsoring some freebies for athletes and attendees alike! The Guelph Games free shuttle service will run between Downtown Guelph and Exhibition Park from 11am to 9pm on Friday and 9am to 9pm on Saturday. To top it all off, Market Parkade (10 Wilson Street) will also be free all day Friday through Sunday.

Guelph Games Recommendations

We also asked Mike for his Guelphie recommendations as we welcome visitors from near and far. For a must see destination, he recommends the Spring Mill Distillery. For a must eat, Mike recommends any spot boasting oven-fired pizza and for a must drink, Laza Beverages is a no-alcoholic healthy and all-natural option for the whole family to enjoy!

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