The 2019 Canada Winter Games are officially closed.
Athletes paraded into the Centrium one final time Saturday and for as many tributes as there were to the athletes, chants of “Thank You, Red Deer” also rang out throughout the arena.
Lacombe native Gord Bamford played a few songs for the crowd, along with Scott Helman and Red Deer’s Kayla Williams also sang the song she wrote just for the closing ceremonies.
There was also a tribute to Alberta’s Olympians and Paralympians, including Pat Bawtinheimer (Shooting 1984), Drew Goldsack (Cross-Country Skiing 2006, 2010), Zina Kocher (Biathlon 2006, 2010, 2014), Marcia Parson (Speed Skating 1968), Michelle Conn (Field Hockey 1988, 1992), Tammy Cunnington (Swimming Paralympian 2016), Deidra Dionne and Mellisa Hollingsworth (Skeleton 2006, 2010, 2014).
At the closing ceremonies press conference earlier in the afternoon, Mayor Tara Veer said the community should be proud of what it accomplished.
“The theme was “This is our Moment” and really it was a collective moment,” she said.
For her, one of the most special parts of the Games was running with the torch accompanied by her family and a Special Olympian as part of the torch relay.
The moment in the Opening Ceremonies where the crowd waved their lights also struck her as special.
“That was my moment where it really hit me what a community and country effort this has been,” Veer added.
She admits passing the torch to the next Games community is not easy. The 2021 Canada Summer Games will be in the Niagara region in Ontario.
“We know this has been our moment and we’ve made the most of it and we’ve done our country proud,” Veer said.
Games chair Lyn Radford also admitted it is an emotional end to the Games.
“To me, the whole Games from start to finish have been magical,” she said.
“I am so proud of the team. We nailed everything. And how can you beat that women’s final hockey game?”
Canada Games Council, which oversees the Games, was very pleased with how it went in Red Deer.
“Red Deer really hit it out of the park. I’m going to try to be modest but it’s hard being modest that’s how good they hit it out of the park,” Radford also noted.
Incoming Canada Games Council chair Evan Johnston said Red Deer brought a “new level of inclusiveness” to the Games.
“Wheelchair basketball was one of the hottest tickets of the Games. Isn’t that fantastic?”
On the final day, there were also handed out a special ceremony at Servus Arena on Saturday.
Team Alberta won the Centennial Cup, which goes to the province or territory which shows the greatest improvement from one Games to the next. Alberta also got the Jack Pelech Award, which goes to the team that best demonstrates competitiveness, sportsmanship and a spirit of fair play, co-operation and friendship.
Newfoundland and Labrador won the Claude Hardy Award, which recognizes the talents and dedication of a provincial or territorial mission team.