CORNWALL, Ontario – It was a wonderful kick start to the first ever Cornwall Sport Festival on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 at Optimist Park. Soccer fans had the chance to gather all day for an action packed schedule of exhibition games, bbq, and stands set up by local businesses.
The inaugural event was organized by Saint Mary Sports and spearheaded by Fred Ngoundjo. The busy day started early Saturday morning with Senator Bernadette Clement helping to kickoff a mini-exhibition game played by AFIF members (Association Des Femme Immigrants Francophones) and MPP Jim McDonell got the ball rolling for the last big game of the day.
“AFIF is an organization of francophone immigrant women that have been powerful, encouraging and supporting of communities so it’s fitting they kick things off,” said Senator Bernadette Clement in her welcoming statements.
Semi professional soccer teams from Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal and Cornwall participated, with the final event coming down to a matchup between Gatineau and Montreal. Gatineau took home the victory in a thrilling 1-0 game.
For organizer Ngoundjo, the day could not have gone better. Ngoundjo first got the idea for the Cornwall Sports Fest when many friends and family in other cities kept asking about the community he’s come to love and call his home.
“I just wanted to share what I enjoy everyday living in Cornwall,” said Ngoundjo. “I discovered a lot of people don’t know about this city…so that inspired me to build this project and use soccer as a way to bring people together.”
And, from feedback Ngoundjo has received since Saturday, his goal has been a success, with friends as far away as Montreal now looking forward to returning next year.
Ngoundjo says Saint Mary’s is hoping the 2022 edition of the Cornwall Sport Festival will be a multi-day event, adding that he hopes to promote more local businesses and tourism opportunities in the area through this new initiative.