Past and present Special Olympians from Sault Ste. Marie were gathered Wednesday afternoon for a major announcement.

For the first time, the city will host the Special Olympics Ontario Winter Games.

The Sault will play host to the 2019 edition.

“It’s great motivation,” said Nathan Harman, a Special Olympic Athlete.

“You know if you are here you get home field advantage, so it really just motivates you to get out there and do you best and get to provincials because you have a better chance at getting to nationals with the home field advantage.”

The three day competition is expected to generate about $1 million in economic revenue for the city.

Starting next January, the police service will be dedicating one of its officers to organize the event, and he’s hoping the community will pitch in to help out.

“The entire games will be fueled by volunteers in our community,” said Constable Shaun Beaulieu, Sault Police Service.

“We anticipate needing approximately 600 volunteers a day to run the six different events going on, to feed close to a 1,000 people each day. It is a huge event and great for the community.”

“It is a big undertaking. You're going to have over 600 athletes, plus the coaches, plus the visitors that come with them, and it's in an intense three day period  and it does take a lot of preparation,” added Ian McMillan, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie.

The Sault beat out three other communities to host the games.

Nordic and alpine skiing, figure and speed skating, curling and snowshoeing are the six sports athletes will be competing in the games.

If this winter event is a success, McMillan told CTV that Tourism Sault Ste. Marie will strongly consider placing a bid for the Canada Winter Games in the future.