Montreal bails on ArtsGames, another event vaunted by former mayor Denis Coderre

Montreal bails on ArtsGames, another event vaunted by former mayor Denis Coderre

The City of Montreal is pulling all funding from ArtsGames, the ambitious, made-in-Montreal international competition set for this fall, after investing $3.7 million in the inaugural event. 

It's yet another event vaunted by former mayor Denis Coderre that has failed to win the support of the new administration of Valérie Plante. Last December, Plante cancelled the controversial Formula E electric car race.

Plante said her administration made the decision after looking at plans for the event and speaking with organizers.

"Despite their good will, we weren't convinced the event is viable," she told reporters Thursday.

The ArtsGames are the brainchild of Sylvia Sweeney, a former Olympian and the niece of legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

The idea is to create an Olympics-style international competition in several arts disciplines, including media arts, literature, visual arts, dance and music.

'A great day for Montreal'

Coderre held a news conference in September 2015 to announce the city would invest $6 million in services and $500,000 cash in the inaugural event. 

He called it "a great day for Montreal."

The $6 million included $1.15 million for Tourism Montreal to hold an ArtsGames launch event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  Montreal musicians, including Oliver Jones, Daniel Clarke Bouchard and Florence K, performed at the event.

However, by the autumn of 2016, the Coderre administration appeared to have lost interest in the event, quietly pulling funding.

Plante's administration reaffirmed that decision at an executive committee meeting Wednesday.

The first ArtsGames were supposed to take place just before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but after the city's decision to stop financing the games, they were delayed until this fall.

The city has already invested $3.7 million of the $6.5 million initially pledged.

No one from the ArtsGames would do an interview.

In an email, the organization acknowledged it was no longer working with the city but said it would continue to work with other partners to try and make the event happen as scheduled this fall.