Going forward, Central Alberta and the rest of Canada can expect to identify with — perhaps on a more heartfelt level — the 2019 Canada Winter Games now that a new milestone has been reached.
That Games unique brand was announced Friday in Red Deer. It includes the phrase “This is our moment” and also a video on the Games newly launched website that is voiced over by Red Deer’s famous son, sports celebrity Ron MacLean.
The short video was published to YouTube on Friday under “2019 Canada Winter Games Brand Story”and hears MacLean enthusiastically talk about him and his wife Cari’s hometown. They are honourary chairs for the Games, which will attract thousands of athletes and visitors to Red Deer from Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019.
“Winter 2019, temperatures will plummet, snow will fall. But it will be a little warmer in Red Deer, Alberta, from the heat of our hearts as we prepare to stage the largest sporting event in our history,” MacLean says.
And then later: “This is our moment. Not only true for the athletes competing but also for Central Alberta. Together this is our moment to show we’ve got it. A vibrant community opening its arms wide to welcome the nation.”
Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society board chair, said the brand launching is a milestone for the Games.
“The 2019 Canada Winter Games is going to be our moment,” she said, admitting that the branding and video made her feel somewhat emotional.
As well as the brand, the website canadagames.ca/2019 was also launched on Friday. The 2019 Games are also on major social media including Facebook and Twitter.
Two more Games sponsors were announced at the event. Peavey Industries, represented by Alan Flowers, is the first gold sponsor. Kipp Scott GMC Cadillac Buick, represented by Garrett Scott, has also come on board as a bronze sponsor.
There will be more corporate sponsors announcements ahead, Radford said, and venue planning and projects such as the City of Red Deer’s new arena downtown and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer College are well underway.
People who want to volunteer for the actual Games events can expect the big general call-out to happen late this year or early in 2018. There will be 4,000 volunteers needed.
Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said she was quite struck on Friday that in the moment when it was announced in 2014 that Red Deer would be the host community for the 2019 Games, the city knew it was a big deal.
“But we had no idea of the magnitude of the implications of what it would it would mean. The build-up to the games has brought new infrastucture dollars such as expansion at the Red Deer Airport and the QEII interchange to our community at a time where we need it most. It’s brought us stability during the recession but it’s also mobilized our community around our identity as Red Deerians as we prepare to welcome 20,000 Canadians.
“And the fact that we have Ron MacLean selling Red Deer all across the country is an absolute honour for us as a city and it really positions Red Deer not only as a community for sports tourism on the national stage, it elevates our profile in all other aspects as well.”
More than 2,400 athletes, 500 officials, 450 media outlets, 700 VIPs and 20,000 visitors will be in Red Deer for the Games, representing an economic impact of more than $132 million.