Renfrew — With less than two months to go until the opening ceremonies of the Renfrew County 2023 Ontario Winter Games, the local organizing committee got a huge financial boost last week from an Ottawa company currently building several apartment complexes in the town.

Francis Lepine, owner and president of Lepine Apartments, and his daughter, Pascal, presented a $50,000 cheque last Friday to Renfrew County Warden and Games Organizing Committee Chair Peter Emon and Games Manager Cindy Burwell. The presentation was made at the Lépine Lodge in Renfrew the third of six planned complexes shown in the background. During the event, Lépine Apartments was introduced as a County Wide Sponsor for the Games and Presenting Partner for the VIP tent and stage for the opening ceremonies, which are taking place at Ma-te-Way Park in Renfrew on the weekends of February 2-5 and 9-12 next year.

The Ontario Winter Games will feature 2,200 young athletes competing in 24 different sports at venues across Renfrew County and into Kanata. The event will be run with the help of more than 750 volunteers.

Warden Emon was thrilled to accept the sponsorship and welcome Lépine on board as a major partner of the Games.

“Communities are built by people investing time and energy in events close to home,” he said. “We are very fortunate the Lépine family has stepped up to invest in our community, which is also their community.”

The Games will provide an opportunity for the County of Renfrew to demonstrate what a special place it is to visitors from across Ontario.

“As a partner, the Lépine family values and recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity when it comes to the Games and the community,” Warden Emon added.

The Lépine family sees their sponsorship as a way of building a solid foundation for the future and is sponsoring the 2023 Ontario Winter Games to support the opportunity the Games create for youth to see beyond themselves and set their sights on new horizons across Canada.

“Just as buildings crumble and fall when they lack a strong foundation, so do our communities when we do not invest in the spirit of our children,” Mr. Lépine said. “As our children exercise their physical gifts and compete in the disciplines of sports and teamwork, they will understand themselves better and their fellow Canadians. When our children strive for their personal best alongside their peers, they gain resolve to achieve excellence together and become the community builders of the future.”

Mr. Lepine said Canada needs a lot of positive thinking right now to dispel the doom and gloom.

“We need to build a morale,” he said. “I find it not right in such a great country we have that people are thinking doom and gloom. The 2023 Ontario Winter Games will allow Renfrew County residents to celebrate together as one big community and display community pride and spirit. The added benefits are boosting the local economy while inspiring and motivating youth to get involved in sport.”

Mr. Lepine said there is much potential and opportunity in Canada, but society has to start thinking more positively and encourage the youth.

“Using the Winter Games to help start changing the narrative is important,” he said.