RED DEER IS READY - Mayor Tara Veer waves the Canada Games flag at the closing ceremonies in Winnipeg last weekend. photo by Scott Grant/Canada Games

Red Deer is officially ready for 2019 Canada Winter Games

Canada Games torch and flag passed to Mayor Tara Veer

The Canada Games torch has officially been passed to Red Deer.

Mayor Tara Veer, along with members of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, traveled to Winnipeg last weekend for the closing ceremonies of the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

Veer had the honour of receiving the flag and torch from Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman – officially setting the stage for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

“The energy in the City of Winnipeg has been palpable. They have done an incredible job, not just hosting the Games, but elevating community spirit and that certainly translated into the closing ceremonies. Of course it was a proud moment for Red Deer when we accepted the flag and to bring it to the great City that we are fortunate to call our home and the torch as well.

“I’ve always been a proud Red Deerian but yesterday, it reached a new level. It was the proudest moment of my life to date. It really in many respects positioned Red Deer on the national scale. What a proud moment for Red Deer to be able to accept the flag amongst our fellow Canadians, to take it to our City and to really position us to welcome 20,000 Canadians in just 18 months’ time,” said Veer.

“Now that the torch has literally and figuratively been passed to Red Deer, it elevates our preparation that much more.

“When you see the scale and the requirements in order to pull off an event of this magnitude and of the calibre that Winnipeg did – it was certainly energizing for the community that was here and I fully expect they will take that home (to Red Deer) – I know they have had a lot of good learnings and I know they are looking forward to putting that into action in our community.”

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society board chair, said the excitement continues to build for the upcoming Games in 2019.

“We’ve been on this journey since 2011 and when you think about it, we’re really front and centre now,” she said, adding some of the host society had an opportunity to learn from staff and volunteers in Winnipeg in regards to the operation side. “There is so much that we have to prepare and we want to show the nation that we’re a class act.

“I just can’t wait for this community to feel how Winnipeggers were feeling. It’s an experience no one can describe.”

Ultimately, when the Canada Winter Games takes place in Red Deer in February 2019, the City will see about 3,600 athletes compete, along with 1,800 coaches over the two-week event.

There will be about 25,000 to 30,000 people who attend the Games in some capacity.

The opportunity to host these Games comes to the province every 20 years – the last time Alberta had the opportunity was in 1995 when Grande Prairie was selected.

In 1975, the honours went to Lethbridge.

It’s also anticipated the region will see an economic impact from the Games of between $100 million and $125 million.

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