The cauldron is lit at the 2015 Canada Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Prince George. The 2019 Games get underway in Red Deer on Feb. 15. Photo by Scott Grant

Canada Games Countdown: Opening, closing ceremonies will be something special

Excitement building for once-in-a-generation hosting of Games in Red Deer

With excitement building around the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, you’re probably wondering how this once-in-a-generation celebration of sport will kick off on Feb. 15.

Exactly who’s performing at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Centrium and who will run the final legs of the Torch Relay are planned surprises designed to heighten the anticipation. Those mysteries will enhance the appeal of the kickoff, which Red Deer Canada Games 2019 CEO Scott Robinson says will be “like nothing Red Deer’s ever seen before.”

“People will be excited about the show, but also feel proud to be from Red Deer and to showcase their community to the country,” he adds, noting that both ceremonies – and a number of Games events – will be broadcast on TSN.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience:

  1. Be in the moment The two-hour Opening Ceremony features the theme “A Celebration of Moments.” It includes the parade of athletes from across Canada, including a large contingent from Alberta, and the lighting of the Games cauldron to end the last leg of the Torch Relay from Hunting Hills High School to the arena.
  2. Big-time entertainment Patrick Roberge Productions, the company behind the Grey Cup halftime show since 2010 and producer of other major event celebrations such as the Invictus Games, 2010 Paralympic Games and the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, is staging the opening and closing ceremonies. “They’re very skilled at taking a vision of the community and the city and communicating that in a very entertaining way,” Robinson says of PRP.
  3. Central Albertans will see themselves You can expect a ceremony that reflects the uniqueness of Red Deer and Central Alberta, local Indigenous communities and the arts, culture and personality of the province.

Closing Ceremony a fast-paced show

The Games windup on March 2, themed as “Now is Your Time,” is a one-hour tribute to the athletes and their accomplishments in Red Deer, culminating in the handing off of the Canada Games flag to representatives from the Niagara Region, host of the 2021 Canada Summer Games.

You’ll also see a different group of athletes than participated in the Opening Ceremony, as the first group will have left a week earlier, following their competitions and medal presentations. The Closing Ceremony gives athletes, coaches and officials whose events are in the second week of the Games a chance to celebrate their moment.

You’ll need separate tickets for each

Tickets are selling briskly for both the opening and closing ceremonies. Organizers remind you that separate tickets are required for each, over and above sports event passes.

For general or other ticketing information about the Games, visit You can also visit the Games on Facebook.


Zak Madell from Okotoks carries in the flag during the opening ceremony at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George B.C. The 2019 Games get underway in Red Deer on Feb. 15. Photo by Scott Grant

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