Officials with the 2019 Canada Winter Games pose for a photo during the official opening of the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza Feb. 13th. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza officially opens

Facility will host an array of cultural events and concerts during the Winter Games

An official opening of the Gary W. Harris Celebration plaza was held Feb. 13th with just two days from the kick-off to the 2019 Canada Winter Games here in Red Deer.

“Red Deer has a long history of game-changing partnerships and today marks our new era of partnership between the City of Red Deer, Red Deer Public Schools and the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, and generous community donors,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

“We are preserving a heritage building in Red Deer’s downtown with the intent to re-purpose it into a vibrant community destination.

“What was once only a possibility for our community has become our daily reality,” she said. “We are preserving a heritage building in Red Deer’s downtown with the intent to repurpose it into a vibrant community destination.

“Hosting the Games has proven to be the catalyst for the City that we are today and towards the City that we are becoming,” she added.

“It’s hard to believe that in two short days we will welcome 20,000 of our fellow Canadians to a transformed Red Deer. And more than 5,000 of our fellow Red Deerians will mobilize so that they experience all that Red Deer has to offer during their stay here,” she said.

The Plaza’s main feature through the Games, the 52° North Music and Cultural Festival, will play host to a range of concerts and cultural events during the course of the Games, which run from Feb. 15th through to March 2nd.

Artists set to perform during the Winter Games include Brett Kissel, the Strumbellas, Scott Helman, Walk Off the Earth, Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, Gord Bamford and Alan Doyle among others.

In addition to the main stage shows, the site will also showcase theatre and visual artist groups – providing an opportunity to feature local and provincial talent.

“Not only is this now a fully accessible celebration space in the heart of downtown, but the generous support of donors allows us this space to provide arts and culture, educational and recreational programming. As well, we were able to create an accessible playground for Central Middle School,” said Lyn Radford, chair of the Canada Winter Games Host Society.

Also that day, it was announced that Jack and Joan Donald are the donors of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Art Project, Unity Through Sport – 2019, which is featured at the plaza.

“In two days, we kick off the nation’s largest multi-sport and cultural event. For eight years we have been planning and now thanks to the funding partners, the community partners, the donors, the sponsors – the moment is here. This is our moment, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

All 52° North entertainment is free to the public and hosted, as mentioned, at the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza.

Check out www.canadagames.ca.

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