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Special Olympics Ontario coming to Brantford, Brant County, and Six Nations of the Grand River


Thousands of athletes, coaches, and supporters will be coming to Brantford, Brant County, and Six Nations of the Grand River for a major provincial event.

Special Olympics Ontario officially announced the Brantford Police Service, Brant County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and Six Nations Police will host the provincial summer games presented by the Wayne Gretzky Foundation in July of 2025.

The moment has been a long time coming.

“There was a bid that was submitted on behalf of the three police services – so Six Nations, OPP, and Brantford city police – we submitted it back in 2018. Then, obviously, with that happened in the pandemic everything got put on hold,” Brantford Police Service’s Deputy Chief Jason Saunders explained following the official announcement at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre on Thursday afternoon.

“This year, I got a phone call from Glenn MacDonell from Special Events Ontario and he advised that our community was going to be awarded the games.”

Saunders said Six Nations will host bocce events, softball will be played in Paris, and track and field meets and soccer matches will be held in Brantford.

“By far, the best part of these games is how much joy [the athletes] get out of this and just seeing smiles on their faces,” Saunders said.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Coordinator for the OPP and Brant OPP Constable Jonathan Bueckert agreed.

“The Special Olympics community if focused on inclusion and diversity. Anybody can walk up to Special Olympics – you, me, and athlete – and be involved right away. There’s not many communities that you can walk into and feel that way. It’s really incredible when you walk into a building and you’re immediately accepted by everybody and they just have a way of bringing the energy,” Beuckert said.

Six Nations acting Sergeant Derrick Anderson said the bond between the athletes and the police was palpable during Thursday’s event.

“I could feel the bond. When we come in and they just [like] hanging around the cruisers and want to get pictures with you. That connection – it’s heartwarming.”

Kailee Mitchell has been competing at the Special Olympics for five years, and she said the experience is incredible.

“It’s good to cheer the athletes on so they can feel honoured that they are doing their best and what they’re doing is good.”

She encourages anyone who may be hesitant to take part to give it a try. “You can talk to somebody and they’ll help you, guide you through.”

The road ahead

There is still a lot of work to do before the games can take place next summer.

“We’re just in the beginning stages now – working on accommodations and planning out schedules,” Bueckert said. “We’re probably going to be recruiting from the provincial level to be well resourced so we have enough volunteers because I know there’s going to be hundreds of people that we’re going to need to make the event a success.”

“We’ve looked at some tentative venues, but once we get an idea of how many athletes are going to come and what venues we actually need, [the events] could expand to other areas,” Saunders told CTV News.

He also said the police organizations will be doing some fundraising over the next year.

Saunders said anyone interested in volunteering should keep their eyes on the Special Olympics Ontario website. Top Stories

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