The torch arrived in Winnipeg today. The 2017 Canada Summer Games are upon us. Promising “The Hottest Summer in Half a Century” the Games features 16 sports at 23 local venues, more than 250 events and a big-time family-friendly festival. You’ve probably seen the signs going up around town and have wondering just what exactly there will be to see and do during the Games. That’s where we come in. Here’s a handy guide to get to know what the Games are all about and how to make the most of it.
What exactly are the Canada Games?
The Canada Games – a celebration of youth, sport, culture and community – are this country’s largest multi-sport event for young athletes, most athletes competing will be between the ages of 16 and 21. As the best in their age group, amateur competitors from all over Canada come to the Canada Games from the 13 provinces and territories across the nation and compete for the Canada Games Flag and Centennial Cup. Spectator tickets range in price from $5 for an individual sport day pass to $475 for a family package good for two adults and two children for both weeks.
The first Canada Games were held in Québec City in 1967, making 2017 the 50th anniversary of the Games. Athletes that compete in the Games are Canada’s next generation of national, international and Olympic champions. Some famous faces that made it at the Games before making it big include: speed skaters and cyclists Susan Auch, (Team MB 1983 & 1985), Cindy Klassen (Team MB 1995, 1999 & 2001) and Catriona Le May Doan (Team SK 1983 & 1987). Hockey players Sidney Crosby (Team NS 2003) and Sami-Jo Small (Team MB 1991, 1993 & 1997) and basketball great Steve Nash (Team BC 1993).
Who to Watch
Our friends over at Shaw TV made a pair of videos hosted by local Canada Games alumni to introduce you to the local and national athletes to watch – you know, for those of us not up on the world of amateur sport.
Keep an eye out for Niibin, the super cute 2017 Canada Games Mascot. The name means “it is summer” in Ojibway. Niibin is a magical creature created by the summer heat, who lives in Manitoba’s Spirit Sands desert. Niibin draws his strength from the sun, giving him energy to explore forests, lakes and fields. And he’s even got his own YouTube series.
When & Where
The Canada Summer Games run from July 28th through August 13 in Winnipeg, Gimli and Kenora. The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Canada Games Festival at The Forks features artists, performers and cultural acts and runs July 29 to August 12 with no programming on July 31 and August 1st, 8th and 9th.
The Opening Ceremonies – Friday, July 28, 7:00 p.m. at Bell MTS Place. The two-hour show titled “We are Canada!”, will celebrate 50 years of amateur sport and mark Canada’s. Featuring hundreds of performers from all parts of Manitoba as well as sports celebrities and Canada Games alumni. Musical headliners for the Opening Ceremony include Serena Ryder, Coeur de Pirate, and Winnipeg’s own JUNO Award-winning The Bros. Landreth, who will perform with a youth chorus from StudioWorks and young dancers in a special collaboration with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Thinking of attending? Get in on the fun by helping to create a stunning light effect throughout the audience, download the Jeux du Canada Games Pixels app and hold up your mobile device when get a cue on your screen.
The Closing Ceremonies – Sunday, August 13, 2:00 p.m. at Investors Group Field. The ceremony will bring to a close the 26th edition of the Canada Games, celebrate athletes’ successes and pass the torch to the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta. The “Grand Summer Party”, will be a two-hour show featuring perennial favourites Fred Penner and Sierra Noble and country music sensation Brett Kissel.
Road Closures You Need to Know About: Wednesday July 26 Edmonton Street from Portage to Graham closed between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday, July 28 Carlton Street from Portage to York will be closed between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The section between Portage to St. Mary will remain closed until midnight. Memorial Boulevard will also be closed from St. Mary Avenue to Broadway between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, August 5 to August 12 Churchill Drive from Hay Street to Eccles Street will be completely closed. Pedestrian access will be maintained but some transit routes may be altered during the closures.
Music, Art & More
During the Festival, each province or territory will showcase their talents on a different day. Manitoba day is Monday August 7 with some of our province’s most beloved performers including Fred Penner, The New Meanines, Royal Canoe and the Crash Test Dummies with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. But if you look closely you’ll spy some homegrown talent on just about any given night.
Two large public art installations are coming to the Forks as part of the festival. A giant mural can be seen above the parking garage (and FIY, in case you haven’t been to the Forks in a while, the parkade is no longer free) and a giant WINNIPEG sign that will be officially unveiled tomorrow and lit for the first time on Saturday.
The MacDon Family Zone at Parks Canada Place will feature a variety of fun, recreational activities for children and young families. There will also be fireworks at the Forks each evening of the Festival.
The Winnipeg Connection
Winnipeg is the second city in Manitoba to host a summer edition of the Canada Games after Brandon hosted a summer Games in 1997. The 2017 Canada Games are expected to welcome over 4,000 athletes and coaches and more than 20,000 visitors and is expected to bring in between 150 and 160 million dollars for the local economy.
The 2017 Canada Summer Games will leave a lasting legacy of new and enhanced sport facilities, such as the new Canada Games Sport for Life Center, volunteer and leadership development that will benefit athletes and the broader community for years to come.
The 2017 Canada Summer Games Host Society acknowledges Treaty No. 1, Treaty No. 3 and the Manitoba Metis Federation as the co-hosts for the 2017 Canada Games, whose traditional lands and waters these Games will be held upon as well as the many Elders and Grandmothers that have provided the Host Society with cultural guidance for the Games.