Last weekend was a big moment for the community of Red Deer when Mayor Tara Veer and members of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society travelled to Winnipeg for the closing ceremonies of the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Veer was given the flag and the torch was officially passed as Red Deer is the next host city for the Canada Games.
It’s hard to believe that it was nearly three years ago that Red Deerians learned our City would be hosting the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
So much careful and detailed planning had gone on in making the bid prior to that exciting announcement in Calgary in September 2014, and once it was official, it was like things were elevated to a whole new level in terms of planning what promises to be a tremendous, groundbreaking event for Red Deer.
That heightened level of planning has carried on through to today and will only continue to ramp up in the next 18 months.
So far we’ve seen the naming of area residents to various boards and committees, major project details unveiled and much more.
Each new announcement is a reminder of the sheer magnitude of this amazing event, and how much organizers will also be counting on the community to help out as volunteers when the time comes as well.
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.
The Games may seem like they are a long ways off at this point, taking place in February of 2019, but there is already a palpable excitement building in the community, and much of that will also stem from the formation of groups of volunteers that will be needed to help ensure the Games run as smoothly as possible.
As has been seen in past major sporting events in Red Deer, there is nothing quite like bringing together enormous groups of people to lend a helping hand towards a common cause that can really pull a community together.
Red Deerians are fortunate of course to not only have landed the privilege of hosting these Games, but also to have the chance to work together to help bring them to fruition.
It’s been noted countless times in the past in the wake of major events like this that really, they just wouldn’t have been nearly the successes they were without a foundation of dedicated volunteers taking care of a myriad of roles and responsibilities.
In total, about 5,000 to 6,000 volunteers will be needed for the Games and we know that Central Albertans will definitely step up to the task.
Meanwhile, about 100 committees will be formed prior to the 2019 Canada Winter Games and there will be many opportunities for the community to get involved in various capacities.
That will include about 40 large committees and then another 40 to 50 subcommittees as well.
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.
In total officials say there will be about 25,000 to 30,000 people who attend the Games in some capacity.
It’s also anticipated the region will see an economic impact from the Games of between $100 million and $125 million.
This is an exciting time for our community and we anticipate that excitement will only continue to build as we move forward in the months and years to come.