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Sudbury and Timmins are both bidding to host the first official Ontario Aboriginal Summer Games in 2016.

The event has been developed to help Ontario field a strong team for the North American Indigenous Games. Held every three years, that event aims to improve the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples through sport and culture.

The selection process to send young people to North American games has not had much structure in the past, said Clay Melnike with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario.

The Ontario Aborginal Summer Games will provide a system to ensure all aboriginal athletes in the province get a shot at the larger competition, he added.

"It's one that is fair and one that has regional build-up — and that is so important because it gives everyone an equal chance across the province. We are quite excited about that," he said.

Ontario is also bidding to host the North American Indigenous Games in 2017 using the athletic facilities built for next month's Pan Am Games in Toronto, Melnike said.

A decision will be made in July on which city wins the right to host the games, but Melnike said Sudbury may have the edge because of the new watersports centre on Ramsey Lake that is set to open this summer.

"The canoe and kayak venue is really crucial for the summer games. You have the best [venue] now in Canada maybe," he said.

The 2016 event will bring about a thousand athletes to the host city, along with parents and coaches, Melnike said.

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