March 11, 2012
Skate Canada expects London light show
By HANK DANISZEWSKI, QMI Agency
LONDON, ONT. - With one year left before London holds the world figure skating championships, the head of Skate Canada says he expects the city to deliver on a promised -- and controversial -- light and video show.
CEO Bill Thompson was referring on the weekend to a $600,000 show that was part of London's original $3.6-million bid to get the hotly contested event.
Thompson said Skate Canada is committed to holding the championships in London, even if the light show is scrapped, but he said the city's reputation as a host could be tarnished.
"We had six cities in Canada bidding for this so we had choices. This could impact London's reputation, not only with us, but the other sports," he said.
"I do think the light show would make a very big difference. We are doing some things around the event we are not obligated to do -- bringing things downtown to increase traffic for your businesses -- and this (the light show) would help," Thompson said at a brief ceremony on the weekend.
The ceremony was held to herald the upcoming event, which takes place March 10 to March 17, 2013.
City council, wrestling to maintain a tax freeze for another year, balked in January at the cost of the light show. Tourism London recently returned with a revised proposal that would cap the city's cost for the show at $450,000.
Mayor Joe Fontana said he's still optimistic the light show will be part of the event.
"The light show -- in one way shape or form -- is going to get done, even if I have to go out and raise all the money myself," said Fontana, who attended the weekend ceremony.
The light and video show would involve a giant projection system and a 15-minute video display with an original musical score.
"We are showcasing the city to over 160 million people and 250 media around the world," said John Winston of Tourism London.