EDITORIAL: Changes may be necessary

Organizers of both the Tour de White Rock and Canadian Open need to address the problem of sagging attendance

Peninsula residents who bundled up and trekked down to either Marine Drive or to Softball City last weekend, to watch the Tour de White Rock or Canadian Open, certainly got their money’s worth.

(Especially cycling fans, since the Tour is free of charge).

But while each July brings out the diehard fans of cycling and fastpitch, this year’s incarnations of both showed signs of what has been a startling trend of late – dwindling attendance.

The lower-than-usual numbers could be chalked up to the weather. It poured rain throughout the final few days of the fastpitch tournament, and thunder and lightning the night before the Tour de White Rock’s Sunday road race no doubt kept a few away, although organizers got lucky when the criterium was staged between storms.

But Tour de White Rock attendance has clearly been waning for years. Where once the sidewalks along Marine Drive were jammed two or three deep, now there is park-bench space aplenty throughout most of the race.

Higher attendance at the Canadian Open was no doubt expected, too. The Canada Cup – the Open’s predecessor – routinely attracted more than 100,000 fans throughout the week. While tournament organizers no longer release attendance numbers, it’s unlikely this year’s event hit anywhere close to that number.

Reasons why both events are seeing a drop run deeper than just the weather, of course.

The Open is just in its second year – and first since re-adding an international division, which was the Canada Cup’s big draw – so they can certainly be cut some slack. And this year’s Tour suffered from perhaps its weakest field in a decade, as many pro riders were bound by other race commitments, and the women’s field had just 22 racers, down from its usual amount of 50-plus.

There are possible solutions. If a change in date for the Tour de White Rock – or for BC Superweek in its entirety – would result in more top riders coming here, then it should be examined. And Canadian Open director Greg Timm has already promised next year’s event will be bumped up a few days, so it will better dove-tail with the world championships, thus bringing more international teams into the mix.

Organizers are wise not to rest on the laurels of past successes. They should remain focused in continuing to bring the world’s best – not just the best available – to our doorsteps, and be wary of taking their remaining fans for granted.

If not, they would soon find out that what Ben Franklin once said rings true: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

– Peace Arch News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sources team members (left to right) Carrie Belanger, Abby Gemino, Tatiana Belyaeva, Yasmin de Joya-Pagal cheer during the 2020 Coldest Night of the Year event. This year’s event will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sources photo)
White Rock’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser goes virtual

Annual walk raises funds for variety of Sources programs and services

An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
PHOTOS: South Surrey seniors grateful for ‘freedom’ of COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination clinics at Fraser Health long-term and assisted-living sites were to wrap up Jan. 15

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Friends and family of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo wore memorial masks outside Surrey Provincial Court Jan. 14, 2021. (From left) Family friend Tyler Whitley, sister Angela Prestbakmo, childhood friend Jimmy Slater, brother Steve Prestbakmo, Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Roxanne Charles and sister Liz Prestbakmo. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Two accused in 2019 South Surrey murder were ‘really angry,’ pacing at party: witness

‘We had this really strong gut feeling that something was really wrong’

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Most Read