The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next two weeks.
Athletes were officially welcomed to the city Friday with the opening ceremony of the 2019 Canada Winter Games at the Centrium.
“We are incredibly excited to kick off the 2019 Canada Winter Games tonight and welcome the nation to Red Deer and central Alberta,” said games board chair Lyn Radford.
“Since being awarded the 2019 games in September 2014, the host society has worked tirelessly to deliver a life-shaping games experience for all participants. We can’t wait to show the rest of Canada the gusto and hospitality that our region is known for.”
More than 500 participants and performers showed off their talents to the nation in the thrilling opening show that lasted just over two hours.
After the more than 3,600 athletes paraded in, there was an artistic celebration.
Performers displayed the unity of the games through a production number called Come Together.
It was designed to celebrate Red Deer as a meeting place of central Alberta, where people truly come together.
Francophone artist Mireille Moquin performed Somewhere, and then Red Deer’s own Country Pride Dancers showed off an original dance before the torch entered the building.
Joan and Jack Donald and Del Billings passed the flame to Maddison Pearman and Mark Armstrong, who lit a rope fuse, which was connected to the cauldron. The cauldron was then ignited with the flame.
“From coast to coast to coast across our great country, we are thrilled to welcome our fellow Canadians…,” said Mayor Tara Veer.
“Our competition venues, downtown festivals, businesses, volunteers and local citizens are all ready to host you and we welcome you and the opportunity to invite you to experience the Red Deer we are and are becoming.”