The Canada Games are Canada’s largest multi-sport event, so organizers always have some heavy lifting to do. But this year, the pressure is on. Not only is it Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Canada Games turn 50, too.
Held every two years—alternating winter and summer—the event always is a big occasion, says Canada Games President and CEO Jeff Hnatiuk. “This is a major stepping stone for Canada’s best young athletes—just before they become members of Canada’s national teams and compete internationally as Olympians,” he explains.
Hnatiuk details the plans for how his team is making these games—July 28-August 13 in Winnipeg, Manitoba—extra special.
To mark the Canada Games’ 50th anniversary, organizers have called on athletes from previous years for lead-up promotions and games elements. “Especially in the opening and closing ceremonies, we’ll focus on the Canada Games alumni,” previews Hnatiuk.
As for Canada’s 150th birthday, the Canada Games organizers engaged with youth around the country for a mascot-naming contest. Winnipeg student Taylor Schepp submitted the mascot name, Hiibin (the Anishinaabe word for “It is summer”).
Alongside the sports competition, Hnatiuk says, “We’ll have a major festival site at The Forks in the center of Winnipeg. We’re bringing in major acts—performers representing every Canadian province and territory.”
Additionally, a province and territory will be assigned one competition day that’ll be recognized. It will be a way to honor those area’s homegrown athletes and artists.