New Brunswick to host 2029 Canada Games, but in which city?

Graph for the bidding for the Canada games between New Brunswick cities. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

In 2023, the Canada Games Committee officially announced that New Brunswick would be the host for the 2029 Canada Summer Games. While the event may be five years away, the planning has already begun as Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John have been asked to consider their interest in hosting. The bidding process will open up this spring. 

For Matt Candy, executive director of Athletics New Brunswick, there is no preference for host city. Both Moncton and Saint John have what he describes as “terrific tracks” and he hopes that eventually Fredericton can have a facility as well. 

The main focus for most sports organizations at the moment is the 2025 Canada Summer Games, set to happen in St. Johns, N.L., but that hasn’t stopped them from thinking ahead. 

“We’ve already put plans in place for our high-performance program to develop over the next six years and I guess you could say leading into 2029,” said Candy. “In terms of the team itself, a year and a half [before] … in terms of planning for how to develop our program, we’ve already started.”

Candy thinks having the games in their home province will definitely be a benefit for the athletes, both due to familiarity of the track and with limited travel. As an added bonus, parents will be able to come support their children race. 

“To have it in our own backyard is going to be super beneficial to our athletes to hopefully race on a track that they know well.”

Coaches are picked about two years in advance and they try to slot out enough time for as many possible athletes to qualify, said Candy. Once Athletics sets standards, they will host multiple events for athletes to qualify and meet the standards. It also provides an opportunity for athletes to meet the coaches and potential teammates. 

“We do want them to work together leading up to the games and get to know each other,” he said. “We want the best of the best to go over there and represent our province.”

Julie MacFarlane is the head coach of New Brunswick’s artistic swimming team for the 2025 Canada Summer Games. It will be the first year that artistic swimming is a part of the summer games and not the winter, which is exciting and works better with their competitive season, she said. 

MacFarlane agrees that hosting the games in New Brunswick would be an added bonus for her athletes.

“Especially for us where we’re choreographing a routine, if those athletes get to … train in that pool on a relatively regular basis, that’s a huge benefit.” 

As an added incentive, both competitive and artistic swimming communities have been pushing for a pool facility in Fredericton and hosting the Canada Summer Games may provide an opportunity for funding a new facility. Before it was officially announced, New Brunswick potentially hosting the games was something that was on her radar in terms of a new pool.

MacFarlane believes there are good options for aquatic centers in both Moncton and Saint John, but as a whole, the province is in need of a new facility. 

“The aquatic center in Saint John is a great facility, that’s probably our best pool in the province in terms of competitive sports, but it’s also aging,” she said. “Moncton also has a good pool, but I feel like in order to host that level of competition, they would also need either a revamp or a new facility.”

In terms of potentially hosting in Fredericton: “we definitely would need one for sure,” she said. 

While the conversations surrounding the bidding and a potential new facility are closed-door now, the last MacFarlane heard was that plans were in the design phase, trying to solidify what a new training center would look like in the area. 

“We’re hopeful that if it’s in Fredericton, that that will help to bring life to this new facility for sure.”