More than 500 cyclists will arrive in North Bay on the August Civic Holiday long weekend to compete in a variety of events, generating more than $ 500,000 in tourism revenue.
The schedule includes everything from a youth hill climb, women’s North Bay mountain bike exchange and the 2022 Provincial Criterium Championships and the 2022 Road Provincial Championships.
Greg Rawson, president and founder of Performance Driven Events, said the group has been working on this project for the last three years.
He said the global pandemic in 2020 “was a bit of a blessing over the time we’ve been working on this and able to build up the offering of events over the weekend.”
The mountain bike events will take place July 30, the provincial criterium championships are scheduled for July 31 and the provincial road race takes place in East Ferris on Aug. 1.
“This is something that has never been done before,” said Rawson. “We’re offering so many different events, across so many different disciplines across so many demographics. Cyclists of all ability types from high performance, local cyclists and youth cyclists, we wanted to create a weekend where everyone is welcome where they could find an event that would be of interest to them. ”
Rawson said 80 to 90 per cent of high performance racers, about 200 people, will be coming from the Greater Toronto Area.
He said many of these athletes ranging in age from 17 to 65 have represented Ontario on the national stage and have represented Canada on the international stage.
“As it’s a provincial championship, you get the best of the best.
“The City of North Bay has the perfect balance between infrastructure and the willingness to run the events. Look at Toronto, Waterloo, London. They don’t have willingness or want to shut down roads and yet smaller towns don’t have the capacity. to host from a hotel, food and beverage and from a policing standpoint. North Bay is a great drive from the GTA. ”
Larry Tougas, sports tourism coordinator for Tourism North Bay, said businesses are crying for it.
“The last two years have been a big struggle with cancellations, but it doesn’t mean we stop working but every year we get shut down. This is one of many we’ve been working toward and get some momentum going.”
Tougas said the city was rolling well at the end of February.
He said the upcoming Royal Canadian Legion convention, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities are two large events being held in North Bay this month.
“We’re working hard to try and host these events.