Gary W. Harris, centre, returns to his seat after receiving a standing ovation on Wednesday after it was announced the Celebration Plaza will be named after Gary W. Harris following a significant donation. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Sponsor announced for Canada Winter Games Celebration Plaza

Will be called the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza after donation from Red Deer man

A familiar name will adorn the Canada Winter Games Celebration Plaza.

On Wednesday, Lyn Radford, Games board chair, announced the plaza will be known as the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza after the Red Deer man and he made a major donation.

Radford did not disclose how much was donated.

“He called me and said ‘I want to do something for the Games,’” said Radford. “My stress level went down quite a bit. Our project will become enhanced because of this and it really helps us to have a decent revitalization of this area.”

Harris now has his name on two large parts of the Winter Games as he had already agreed to a sponsorship agreement with Red Deer College. The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre will host short track speedskating, figure skating, squash, badminton and wheelchair basketball.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people of Red Deer, so I wanted to be a part of it,” said Harris. “We’re going to have an onslaught of people.”

The announcement was made on the steps of the school, Central Intermediate School, that Harris attended in 1966 and 1967. He earned a scholarship and went on to become a lawyer.

“Gary has had a lot of success in this community and he wants to give back,” said Radford. “We started there and recognized that this was his home school, it led him on his academic path. He felt this was another area he really wanted to contribute to.”

Both of Harris’ donations have an overarching theme of both an impact for the games and a lasting legacy beyond February 2019.

“I’ve lived in Red Deer since 1966 and (downtown) needs some renovation,” said Harris. “This development will help the downtown core north of Ross Street to have a new life.

“I really think this plaza has to contribute to the community for a long period of time after the Canada Winter Games. It’s not just part of the Winter Games, it’s part of central Red Deer.”

Harris said he usually spends parts of his winter in Mexico, but 2019 will be different as he wants to help out at the Games, maybe even award some medals.

The Games will run Feb. 15 to March 3. Red Deer anticipates about 20,000 visitors and 3,600 participants will come to the city for the 19-sport event. The economic impact is estimated at $132 million.



mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Calgary police officer seriously injured

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says one of its officers was… Continue reading

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

MONTREAL — Canadian politicians are adding their voices to the international reaction… Continue reading

‘Four of a dozen kids will not make it:’ Tina Fontaine’s family healing together

WINNIPEG — Melissa Stevenson was just starting her career 18 years ago… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $16 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $16 million jackpot… Continue reading

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march in Berlin, protected by police

BERLIN — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colours of the… Continue reading

Romanian trucker is Genoa bridge’s 43rd victim

GENOA, Italy — The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times… Continue reading

1 dead, 6 injured after building collapse in Nigeria capital

ABUJA, Nigeria — An emergency response chief says one person is dead… Continue reading

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