Thunder Bay, Ont. — The organizing committee for the 2024 Ontario Winter Games is seeking “expressions of interest” from companies that may be able to provide products and services for the February event. Matthew Lawrence, the event co-ordinator, says Thunder Bay is expecting 2,800 participants to arrive who will come in two cohorts. The first 1,400 participants will arrive for the first week of the games from Feb. 16-19, and another 1,400 will arrive for the second week from Feb. 23-26. “As part of that process, we need to feed all the guests either at the hotels or at the venues so we’re looking at a variety of different options,” he said. “We’re looking for catering companies that may be able to service the entire event, or even just smaller businesses that are able to handle one portion of the event.” He added that one business could handle the breakfasts, and another could handle the lunches. “If someone wants to bid on the larger contract, they could bid on it as a whole,” he said. “We’re also looking for local businesses who may want to get involved and sponsor some of the volunteer food services throughout the event at 17 different venues across town.” Lawrence says there will be a competitive sport taking place at each of the venues, which will also involve numerous volunteers. The committee would like to engage with businesses who may be interested in sponsoring a volunteer meal for the day at one or more venues. Food trucks are also welcome to participate by providing food services at more remote locations such as ski trails and ski hills. The winter games will provide many opportunities for smaller businesses to become involved, particularly at the sponsorship level. “We’re looking for small businesses around town to get engaged with either the financial, food, transportation or equipment sponsorships to help us obtain some of those infrastructure pieces that we would normally need to pay for,” Lawrence said. “There are a lot of those smaller equipment pieces and smaller needs that go into running a games event like this and sometimes when a small business comes in and even donates four or five items, that can make a really big difference, especially if multiple businesses are all doing the same thing.” Discussions are underway to include artisan opportunities during the opening ceremonies. The ceremonies will take place at Fort William Historical Park. Transportation is another factor that is largely needed to transport athletes to and from airports, hotels and sporting venues. We’re looking for bus and shuttle transports for the morning of the events and getting the athletes back to their hotels at the end of the day,” he said. “We also have smaller vehicle needs to help out with things like logistics and delivering breakfasts, lunches and equipment.” Lawrence says their transportation committee chairperson has been reaching out to dealerships for sponsorships. Go online at www.thunderbay.ca/bids for more information.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal