It’s a sporting moment Canadians have been waiting a generation for and Niagara-on-the-Lake is ready.
For the first time since 1986, Canada is competing in the FIFA World Cup and it’s a huge milestone for soccer fans across the country.
Pubs and restaurants around NOTL will be holding viewing bashes and broadcasting the games from Qatar, including Team Canada’s debut on Wednesday, Nov. 23, against Belgium.
Canada is in Group F and will play Belgium at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) Wednesday, Croatia on Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. and Morocco on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.
The World Cup tournament opened Sunday and runs till Dec. 18.
Since many games will be on as early as 7 a.m. due to the time difference, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is allowing licensed bars and restaurants to start serving alcohol as early as 7 a.m. during matches.
For Niagara-on-the-Lake Soccer Club president Carrie Plaskett, the tournament is a special time.
“The World Cup is an event that can really inspire young soccer players and help them develop a love of the game,” she said in an email to The Lake Report.
“It is so special because it truly is a global event that can help kids connect with the world,” she added.
For kids, the World Cup is not only fun to watch, but it’s a time to learn.
Plaskett uses the World Cup to educate her boys about the different world flags, she said.
“They follow along filling out a bracket as the games progress,” she said.
Fans can watch all three games at the Irish Harp as well as Palatine Hills Estate Winery. Both will be opening early on Dec. 1 for the 10 a.m. game.
“We have our two TVs and we have some food specials on as well,” said Jovie Jokie, owner of the Irish Harp.
The Irish Harp is accepting reservations for between noon and 5 for the Nov. 23 game.
Palatine will be streaming all games that take place between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Sandtrap, Angel Inn, Butler’s Bar and Grill, Bricks & Barley and Corks Restaurant are among the NOTL spots that also will be live streaming the games, but will not be opening early on Dec. 1 for the 10 a.m. game versus Morocco.
Games can be watched on TSN and CTV, the official broadcasters for the World Cup.
Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report