Red Deer is ready!
With the 2019 Canada Winter Games set to kick off Feb. 15th, officials held a press conference Friday to update the community on the final touches to the historic and groundbreaking event for Red Deer.
“It’s hard to believe that the dream we dared to dream so many years ago is now our community reality,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “The past seven years have been a community effort like no other.
“An effort that began with an idea that soon translated into a bid and a victory – and what a great day that was,” she said, reflecting on when the announcement was made in Calgary. “New partnerships, planning, planning and more planning. Infrastructure builds and facility openings.
“In only 15 short days, we will have the opening ceremonies where we will welcome the country to our Red Deer.”
From Feb. 15th until March 3rd, the 2019 Canada Winter Games – the largest multi-sport and cultural event for youth in Canada and the largest event to be hosted in Red Deer’s history – will feature more than 150 events in 19 sports.
There will also be a huge arts and cultural festival featuring more than 70 artists and loads of both outdoor and indoor events for folks to take part in.
The Games are also expected to welcome up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches and more than 100,000 spectators.
“There are many, many things I can say about what the Canada Winter Games have proven to be for our community,” she said. “Our community has been transformed because of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Because of our partners, the Canada Winter Games Host Society, Red Deer College and our community through your generosity of time and resources, what was once only a possibility has become our daily community reality,” she said.
“More than 5,000 Red Deerians and Central Albertans will also be mobilized,” she said, referring to the legion of enthusiastic volunteers who are gearing up to help out in a myriad of ways.
“Today, the City has two key messages that we would like to convey. To our fellow Canadians, above all we say welcome, and all the best to our young athletes that will converge on our City from coast to coast to coast to do their best in the sports that they love.
“And for the people of our community, we say, ‘This is our moment’.”
Red Deerians will also have quite the time with free music at the 52° North Music + Cultural Festival running in tandem with all the exciting sports events.
Artists set to perform include Bif Naked, Brett Kissel, the Strumbellas, Alan Doyle, the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra and more. And it’s all free to the public at the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza downtown.
“We are ready. Not only are we set to deliver a life-shaping Games experience, but we are also set to leave a lasting infrastructure sport/volunteer/sustainable/cultural and social legacy in our community,” said Lyn Radford, chair of the Canada Winter Games Host Society. Apparently Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t be attending, and Radford said she understands scheduling issues.
But she’s pleased that the Governor General Julie Payette will be heading to Red Deer. “She has reached out numerous times and wanted to be involved. So when you see enthusiasm like that, I love it.
“Whoever is here, we will work with it. Let’s move forward and let’s have a good time.”
Radford pointed out the changes to Great Chief Park, River Bend Golf Course and Recreation Area, Canyon Ski Resort and the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
“We are also leaving behind a trained, volunteer workforce – over 5,000 strong. They’re ready to host national and international events in the future,” she added.
“The scope and impact of the Games is incredible. We are so fortunate to live in a community where businesses and residents alike see the potential for the Games to change our community, and to create meaningful legacies that will help shape the next 100 years of Red Deer’s history.
“It truly is a team,” said Radford. “We have trusted in each other and we have made the ‘us’ part of ‘trust work.”
For complete details on all aspects of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, check out www.canadagames.ca/2019/