The Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario (OACAO) initiated the concept of the Ontario Senior Games in 1982. The Ministry of Tourism and Recreation(1) agreed to provide financial assistance to help develop this program and to promote activities for seniors throughout Ontario.
In March of 1984, the OACAO established an Ontario Seniors Games Committee with the mandate to develop a format for District competition and to develop and implement a plan for Ontario Senior Games Provincial Championships.
In 1986, the City of Kitchener hosted the first Ontario Senior Games called Actifest. These successful Games established the framework for future Ontario Senior Games. District Games would be held annually, and Actifest would be held during August in even-numbered years. District winners in sanctioned events would qualify to compete in Actifest.
The Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA) continued to grow, and the organization looked for more independence. In November 1996, the Ontario Senior Games Council was granted the right to separate from OACAO, and in April 1997, OSGA became a not-for-profit incorporated body.
1998 – 2002
In 1998, the OSGA in conjunction with the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation(2) and the Ontario Seniors` Secretariat began the groundwork for the first Winter Games for seniors in Ontario. The Council decided to hold Winter Games biennially in odd-numbered years. Financial support for the first Ontario Senior Games Winterfest came from the Seniors` Secretariat. In 1999, the International Year of Older Persons, the announcement of the first-ever Winter Games for seniors was made. And in March 2000, Collingwood hosted these Games.
The success of the Collingwood Winterfest Games set the stage for the next Ontario Senior Games Winterfest for 2003 to be held in London, Ontario. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation(1) gave financial support for these games.
The popularity of Actifest and Winterfest has grown so dramatically that Ontario municipalities now vie for the honor of hosting them.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport took over operations of the Ontario Games Program. Provincial Games are now called Ontario 55+ Summer and Winter Games.
1 Renamed – Ministry of Tourism.
2 Renamed – Ministry of Citizenship and Ministry of Culture and Communications.
Renamed again, on June 29th, 2005 and is now “The Ministry of Health Promotion.” “Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport” (2010)
Now under “Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport”