B.C. would welcome a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games as a tourism recovery plan if the costs of staging it work, Premier John Horgan says.
The provincial government declined to help fund Victoria’s bid for the 2020 Commonwealth Games, after former finance minister Carole James said in 2017 that her minority NDP government would not provide $400 million towards its cost and guarantee other costs.
The 2020 bid committee, chaired by Victoria resident David Black, wants to make another try for 2026, with some venues in Richmond and others around Greater Victoria, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1994.
“We are looking at a number of initiatives to kickstart welcoming the world back to B.C. as we come out of the pandemic, and one of those is the Commonwealth Games,” Horgan said Feb. 18. “We need to see a firm business plan from the private sector, though. The province will not be overseeing this. We want to know what the community’s prepared to do. I know Mr. Black is working on that, and I look forward to detailed information from him and his team as he assembles it in the weeks ahead.”
Horgan said the province is also interested in the Invictus Games, which features injured soldiers from around the world. Victoria was bidding for the 2022 Invictus Games, but they were awarded to Duesseldorf, Germany. The games were initiated by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who served with British forces in Afghanistan.
“There’s a strong military family presence here on the south Island, and the Invictus Games speaks about participation and courage and overcoming extraordinary obstacles,” Horgan said. “Those are just the type of things I think British Columbians have been focusing on over the past 12 months. So we want to zero in on the Invictus Games as a possibility for B.C., as well as the Commonwealth Games.”