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June’s Canadian Grand Prix postponed due to coronavirus

The Canadian Grand Prix has become the latest major sports event in the country to be postponed due to the COVID-19  pandemic.

The Montreal-based Formula One race was planned to take place June 12-14 before Wednesday’s postponement.

Formula One said it hopes to reprogram the event this year.

Race organizers said in a statement that they were “saddened” to postpone the race and that the decision was made in consultation with Formula One and representatives from the City of Montreal, Tourism Montreal and provincial and federal governments.

“This postponement was not a decision that was taken lightly or easily,” the statement said.

The postponement came hours after the CFL pushed back the start of its regular season in June. Last week, another major Canadian sports event scheduled for June –the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto — also was postponed.

The RBC Canadian Open, June 11-14 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, remains on the PGA Tour calendar but Golf Canada and RBC said in a joint statement last week they are evaluating their options.

The Canadian Grand Prix attracts one of the biggest crowds in Canadian sports each year.

Last year’s three-day event had an announced attendance of 307,000.

Canadian Grand Prix president and CEO Francois Dumontier says certain government decisions, like keeping non-essential businesses and the Canadian border closed, left them with no choice but to postpone the race.

“The deadline we (had to) make a decision coincided with the day we were supposed to start preparing the track. Before incurring costs, preparing the track, we had to be certain that we were going to have the race.” Dumontier said, noting the deadline was self-imposed.

“The majority of businesses who work with us are non-essential. That would’ve put in peril our chances to hold the race if it happened on June 14th.”

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante informed Tuesday the city has cancelled all cultural and sporting events until July 2.

“It is a difficult decision because Montreal is a known destination for world class events and festivals,” Plante tweeted. “And we will be there to support our partners.”

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