Photo by JONATHAN STROME/2019 Canada Winter Games

2019 Canada Winter Games: This was our moment

On Saturday night Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Science and Sport Kate Young closes the 27th edition of the Canada Games.

This journey that has spanned almost eight years starts its wind down. Now, our community begins the journey of life after the Games. As with all goodbyes, it comes with reflections of emotional moments and huge thank yous!

How can we begin the new journey without reflecting on all we built and all the relationships that made the last two weeks of magic happen?

Every time we walk into the soaring Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, we will wonder: who were the visionaries of this place and the builders of the newest sport complex of our community? We give thanks to Red Deer College for not only this vision, but the vision of what hosting Canada Games could do to elevate our community on the national scene. Every athlete who walked the halls of this incredible campus will remember with fondness, memories of their Canada Games experience. Thank you Red Deer College for being a part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Every time we enjoy the incredible four-season Great Chief Park; every time we walk or ski the tranquility of Riverbend’s trails; fly down the slopes of Canyon Ski Hill; watch the transformation of the Collicutt Centre to host another event and enter the Downtown Arena or the Pidherney Centre, we have The City of Red Deer to thank for the vision of these recreation spaces and the vision and support of hosting the 2019 Games.

Every time we use the new Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza, we should thank the collaborative vision of the Red Deer Public School District, the City of Red Deer and the 2019 Host Society for taking a historical landmark and refreshing it for new purpose.

We also reflect upon the participants who helped us host the 2019 Games, like the Canada Games Council. As the curator of the Canada Games movement, they have guided the Host Society through their transfer of knowledge documents and friendly staff. Thank you, Canada Games Council.

Next, the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society Board. I am so proud to call these incredible visionaries my colleagues. Through their work, they set up and gave tremendous oversight to the guiding principles of a community based event. Thank you, board members.

To the planning volunteers and staff, under the incredible leadership of CEO Scott Robinson, you built and delivered an innovative and bold plan for the execution of these Games. I say thank you from all of the community.

To the 450 coaches, managers and mission staff from across the nation, thank you for the incredible work you do for our youth. Your dedication to the athletes leading up to and at Games time is nothing short of remarkable.

To the 3,600 participants that attended the Games. You have shown perseverance, pain, elation and teamwork throughout the past two weeks. But the most poignant moments have been the incredible sportsmanship and compassion you showed to your fellow competitors. Thank you for leading by example.

The last and one of the biggest heartfelt thanks I give is to the 5,000 Games time volunteers – you stood in the cold, rallied together to get bunk beds set up, showed up for extra shifts, consoled athletes, supported your fellow volunteers, swept floors, made beds, picked up food trays, provided a friendly smile to all attendees and weathered chaotic moments. You have been the cherry on top of this beautiful journey. Thank you for all you did, the collective warmth of your actions will be permanently etched on participants of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. For you, the biggest THANK YOU for making this our moment.

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