The official torchbearers for the 2019 Canada Winter Games held in Red Deer pose for a photo. Some of the names include Craig Curtis, Barb Miller, Mayor Tara Veer, Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood, Wilton ‘Willie’ Littlechild, Don Moore and Gary W. Harris, among others. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Official torchbearers for 2019 Canada Winter Games announced

Canada Games officials open time capsule from Grande Prairie Games in 1995

A Metis sash, a torch, flags and pins were just some of the items pulled out of a time capsule from the last Canada Winter Games held in Alberta Tuesday.

The opening of the time capsule from the 1995 Grande Prairie Games was part of a 2019 Canada Winter Games announcement, which took place at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. The Games Committee named the 16 Red Deerians who are the official torchbearers for the national sporting event.

Some of the names include Craig Curtis, Barb Miller, Mayor Tara Veer, Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood, Wilton ‘Willie’ Littlechild, Don Moore and Gary W. Harris, among others. As well, Kalian and Kentice Odongo, whom both recently moved to Canada from Kenya, will hold torches at the Games.

Mayor Veer spoke at the event calling the 2019 Canada Winters Games a ‘catalyst for what the community is becoming.’

“The Canada Games is not only about bringing our fellow Canadians to Red Deer,” she said. “It’s also about bringing the power of sport to the rest of Canada.

“The Canada Games torch relay has provided our fellow Canadians with an opportunity to participate in the national pride that the Canada Winter Games is building here and in communities from coast to coast to coast. The Canada Winter Games has become our national bridge to each other.”

The torch relay for the upcoming Games, which began its Alberta route Jan. 5th in Grande Prairie, is taking place in communities across Alberta and is on its way to Red Deer. In Central Alberta, relays will be held in Rimbey, Blackfalds, Olds, Lacombe, Sylvan Lake and Ponoka.

Items from those relays will be gathered for Red Deer’s time capsule to be opened the next time the Canada Games is held in Alberta.

“Thirty-one days to go, I cannot believe it,” said Lyn Radford, chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Committee. “It’s been a journey for eight years. It’s remarkable.”

Aside from a few minors adjustments to plaques in the Gary W. Harris celebration plaza, she said all the construction for the Games is complete. She said while volunteer recruitment is going well, the committee will always welcome more volunteers.

The first day of the Games begins with the Red Deer torch relay in the morning from Fort Normandeau to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame off of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, Radford explained. In the afternoon, the second relay will take off from Hunting Hills and end at the opening ceremonies held at the Centrium.

Other community members on the torchbearer list include Erika Driesen, Morris Flewwelling, Shelley Gagnon, Theresa “Corky” Larsen Jonasson, Tim McLenahan, Kim Schreiner and Manufacturing Director for NOVA Chemicals Rick Van Hemmen.

The rest of the torchbearers will be announced at the Games’ opening ceremony, which kicks off Feb. 15th.

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