Hometown Heroes: Celebrating the Special People who Drive our Local Sports Community
By City of Ottawa Sports Commissioner Mathieu Fleury
Sport is like politics. It is unpredictable and offers an opportunity to dream.
Ottawa’s sports community is active, diverse, performing and growing.
As the Ottawa Sport Commissioner for over the last four years, and growing up in the sports community in Ottawa, I’ve witnessed the importance of volunteers, adequate spaces and competitions.
In the last decade, there’s been a significant transformation within the sport community, with emerging sports accessible for different interests, seasons, age groups and abilities.
I have seen firsthand the space challenges for growing sports like basketball, soccer, pickleball, and cricket, to name a few.
The City of Ottawa is fortunate to have formed from many municipalities, each with its own sports hubs within the community; think of the rinks, pools, sports complexes, and fields built in those communities that remain in use today.
On the other hand, the City of Ottawa has faced challenges as a growing city with centennial-era facilities.
Sport plays an essential role in a healthy, active city, bringing pride and diversifying our local economy.
University sport and their teams’ performances have set the bar for local clubs and coaches to progress and compete in their sports.
Ottawa must now focus on large projects to ensure that our city – our capital city – is in a position to meet the modern competing and hosting facilities it needs.
Where to start in that regard? We must begin with some of the base facilities that allow multiple sports to be played – pools, gyms, and fields.
The opportunity to partner with both Carleton University and uOttawa is at a pinnacle with their end-of-life spaces.
Imagine a pool facility built to host, allowing locals to learn to swim, compete and grow in the sport.
More than ever, the sports community must now unite behind its clubs, their sport and the Ottawa Sport Council – the voice for sport in our City – to advance significant infrastructure investments that will elevate our ability to dream.
Over the last 12 years as a member of Ottawa’s City Council, I have had the opportunity to give medals to youth, adults and seniors who competed at the highest level, including some who won Olympic Gold.
Let’s give the young boy or girl discovering their passion for sport in our local parks a chance to dream.
Finally, as I wrap up my term, I want to bring attention to a group that is even more important than world-class facilities: volunteers.
Volunteers support, teach, and provide meaningful time and knowledge to support local athletes and clubs – Thank you.
Mathieu Fleury served as City Councillor for Rideau-Vanier Ward for 12 years, and for the past four years has also been Ottawa Sport Commissioner. Fleury did not run in the recent municipal election and will conclude his term in mid-November.