The 2019 Canada Winter Games made it to the top of the podium to win the Canadian Sport Event of the Year Award by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance.
The recognition, presented at the 14th Annual PRESTIGE Awards, honoured the best in Canada’s sport tourism industry, and the Red Deer event won in the category of events with a budget of greater than $1 million.
Other finalists in the category were the 2019 Memorial Cup in Halifax, N.S., and the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic in Regina, Sask.
The awards presentation, postponed from last year, were hosted virtually recently.
In February 2019, Red Deer welcomed 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches and more than 26,000 visitors from across the country to the Games, which was the largest sporting event ever held in the city.
“The 2019 Canada Winter Games were an incredible event that showcased our nation’s top amateur athletes and left behind a legacy of infrastructure, sustainability, and community pride in Red Deer,” said Evan Johnston, Canada Games Council chair, in a statement.
“The 2019 Games are truly deserving of this award and recognition,” said Johnston.
From Feb. 15 to March 3, the Games featured 19 sports and 150 events, alongside a major arts and cultural festival.
The Games left a lasting legacy of infrastructure, including Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, a Celebration Plaza for the downtown, a new speedskating track at Great Chief Park, improved cross-country skiing trails at River Bend Golf Course, and ski runs at Canyon Ski Resort.
Mayor Tara Veer said the award was a tribute to the hard work accomplished by the local host society, generous partners and the more than 5,000 incredible community volunteers.
“To the people of Red Deer, be incredibly proud of what you accomplished,” Veer said in a statement.
The previous winner of the award was the 106th Grey Cup and 2018 Grey Cup Festival, held in Edmonton.
PRESTIGE (Program Recognizing Exceptional Sport Tourism Initiatives, Games and Events) Awards highlight the Canadians, places and events building the country’s growing sport tourism industry.