Scott Robinson, CEO of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, stands in front of what will become the Games Plaza. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer’s count-down begins to the 2019 Canada Winter Games

City prepares to host its biggest-ever sporting event

Red Deer’s own version of the Olympics is just a short year away.

Excitement is starting to build at the prospect of having 3,600 athletes, 400 coaches and supporters from across the country arriving in Red Deer next Feb. 15 for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, said host society chair Lyn Radford.

Residents are invited to experience the thrill first hand at the One Year Out celebration at Bower Ponds tonight from 6 to 8, with free skate rentals, hot chocolate activities, and fireworks.

With 19 sporting competitions happening over 18 days, the 2019 Games will be like very much like hosting our own Olympics, said 2019 Canada Winter Games committee CEO Scott Robinson.

The expansive event will actually feature more athletes and more sports than are at the Winter Olympics in Korea.

“They have 14 sports, we’ll have 19,” Robinson added.

The Games will certainly feature Olympic-calibre sporting talent, said Radford, who noted the stars of the 2019 Canada Winter Games will become the Olympians of tomorrow.

In fact, 14 out of the 22 women’s hockey team players now competing at the Korean Olympics took part in the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.

The 2019 Canada Winter Games is the largest sporting event Red Deer has ever hosted – more sweeping in scope, logistics and economic impact than either The Brier or Skate Canada – two of the most high-profile sporting events held here in the past.

To put it in perspective, Robinson said Skate Canada required about 1,200 volunteers, while the 2019 Canada Winter Games will need more than 5,000.

With just a year to go to Games time, “the community will now become the propeller for this massive effort,” added Radford, who pointed out there will be many opportunities for volunteers, donors and sponsors to climb on board.

About $14 million is needed to build, renovate or adapt local sporting venues for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Federal, provincial and municipal partnerships have helped pay for these projects, but committees have also been busy with fundraising and sponsorships to cover the rest of the costs.

“We’re about halfway there,” said Radford, who noted $6 to $7 million more still has to be raised – and she’s confident it can be done, even in this still tight economy, with redoubled efforts at getting sponsorships and donations.

There are four ways to give: a $50,000-plus sponsorship (which comes with naming rights), a Friends-of-the-Games donation ($10,000 to $49,999) which comes with tickets and merchandise, a plaque-worth donation (for building of the Games plaza) or contributing to the Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off.

The Games website, canadagames.ca/2019/, is also about to start accepting applications from people who are willing to volunteer their time — from helping at the opening and closing festivals, to assisting at the athlete’s village, in food services, transportation, IT, and at various sporting venues.

Excitement “has really ramped up” since Christmas time, when Games merchandise sold beyond expectations, said Radford. She believes it will grow to a fever pitch once this year ends and 2019 becomes a reality.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Council turns down rent subsidies

Request for $50,000 to help fill 12 empty suites in Asooahum Crossing affordable living complex

REIMAGINE SYLVAN has begun

Waterfront area redevelopment plan to be updated

Red Deer College a top Hockey campus

Expedia Canada ranks hockey campuses

Looking out for neighbours to fight rural crime

Building community to address crime

Suspect arrested after collision in stolen truck

Driver faces charges in court today

WATCH Replay Red Deer Feb. 18: Your weekly news highlights

Watch news from Red Deer and Central Alberta

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Ambulance’s slow response time angers family

Woman suffers stroke, waits nearly an hour for ambulance

Over-burdened refugee tribunal ditches legislated timelines for hearings

OTTAWA — The Immigration and Refugee Board is giving up on following… Continue reading

New mobile paramedic program starts in Red Deer

Paramedics provide on-site care to those with chronic conditions

Toddler breaks leg after boot sucked into escalator at Vancouver airport

VANCOUVER — A Calgary woman is reminding parents about the dangers of… Continue reading

Liberals looking at creating use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is raising the idea of creating… Continue reading

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

New doping charge could hurt Russia’s chance at reinstatement

Russia could lose its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Winter Olympics because of a doping charge against curling bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky.

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month