The road to the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer is officially underway.
Red Deer will host the 27th edition of the Canada Winter Games in 2019 from Feb. 15 to March 3.
Following the Canada Summer Games wrapping up in Winnipeg on Aug. 13, the Canada Games flag was passed to Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and the torch was carried out of the stadium by Red Deer’s Reece Lehman.
“Now that the torch has literally and figuratively been passed, our community preparations will elevate over the next 18 months,” Veer said.
Organizers and volunteers will work hard to ensure next year’s event is ready, said 2019 Canada Winter Games chair Lyn Radford.
“While we have a lot of work to do over the next 18 months, the next chapter of Canada Games history begins in Red Deer,” said Radford.
After visiting the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Radford is very excited to have the Winter Games in Red Deer, but before that can happen there are a few more things that need to get done.
Both making and successfully implementing their plans over the next year and a half is key to make the Canada Winter Games run smoothly, Radford said.
“There are a lot of moving pieces … and all those pieces will have to come together here in the near future. We aren’t panicking, but we can definitely feel the clock ticking now,” she said.
Getting the community ready for the event is one of the biggest things on the to-do list, Radford said.
“It’ll be the first Red Deer will be on a national stage for an event this big and that requires individuals and organizations to think about what they can do to showcase the community when people arrive there,” she said.
Most venue agreements, for both sports and athlete accommodation, are nearing completion.
“We’re very excited to bring this event to our community,” she said. “To bring the nation to Red Deer is going to be absolutely phenomenal.”
On Oct. 3, the city will celebrate being 500 days away from the start of the game and a Feb. 15 event will mark being one year away.