Torch runners participate in the final leg of the torch relay as the Canada Winter Games kick off Friday. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

The 2019 Canada Winter Games are officially here with the final leg of the torch run kicking off at Fort Normandeau Friday morning.

“Our community has been building towards this day for many, many years and for so long it was often in the distant future but it’s officially here and I can say unequivocally that Red Deer is ready and this truly is our moment,” said Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.

Today Red Deer welcomes thousands of Canadians to celebrate the Games arrival, which run through to March 2nd.

“The excitement can be felt around the city – just incredible community spirit, volunteerism, sponsors, donors and businesses have come onside. There’s energy and excitement in our city and I feel confident that our community will pull off the best Canada Games for the 27th edition of the (event).”

In October, the torch was lit on Parliament Hill from the Centennial Flame.

“Today we bring the torch home. It’s gone to 48 communities across the True North and 11 previous Canada Games communities,” continued Veer.

From Fort Normandeau, torchbearers headed to other places in the city including the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame among others before it heads to the Enmax Centrium for the official opening ceremonies.

Among the many people participating at today’s start of the torch run was Chief Willie Littlechild.

“It’s a very great honour for me to welcome all of you here but also to participate in a special way. I want to acknowledge that on this site many years ago there was a residential school and I want to dedicate my portion of the run to the children who were in those schools, to their spirit,” he said.

“It’s our tradition, so as we lift the flame of honour I want to dedicate it to them,” he said, adding that he also wanted to thank the City of Red Deer for hosting the Games.

Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood said the County is so proud to be a part of sponsoring these Games.

“We are thrilled to see the years of preparation finally come to fruition. We recognize the excitement that is now going to happen in the next two weeks as we have people from across Canada join us and we are so excited that we can in fact be part of this process.”

Just Posted

Parker Thompson makes a big splash to start the 2019 Road to Indy race season

Double victories in St. Petersburg indicate 2019 could be Thompson’s best season yet

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer discusses thoughts on federal budget

New federal infrastructure funding likely coming to Red Deer

Alberta Election called for April 16th

Upcoming election will be about who is fit to be Premier, says Notley

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Carbon tax, oil and gas investment dominate Day 2 of Alberta campaign

NDP pledges more oil and gas processing, UCP slams provincial and federal governments on carbon tax

Another gun seized by police in Wetaskiwin

Maskwacis RCMP arrest two youths, seize firearm in Wetaskiwin

Sundre RCMP looking for 4 missing bison

A Sundre bison rancher is missing four bison from January and RCMP ask for help from the public

Politicians hitting the road for votes in Alberta election campaign

NDP Leader Rachel Notley and United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney have officially launched campaigns

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death seeking full parole

The trial heard that Ryan was dead well before his mother called 911 to say he had stopped breathing

Starbucks to test recyclable cups, redesign stores in B.C., U.S. cities

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders

In pre-election budget, Liberals boost infrastructure cash to cities, broadband

The budget document says the Liberals have approved more than 33,000 projects, worth about $19.9 billion in federal financing

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Most Read