WinnipegREALTORS® has fond memories of being a Friends of the Games sponsor for the 1999 Pan Am Games, when it took on the responsibility of putting together and looking after a Home Stay/ Home Rental Program to address a concern over the lack of enough hotel rooms to accommodate all the visitors coming to Winnipeg.
As it turned out, most of the rooms REALTORS® had inspected and secured for the Games were not necessary, but it was one important item organizers did not have to worry about, knowing it was well managed and executed by WinnipegREALTORS®.
At the time, Winnipeg had not fully recovered from losing its beloved Jets, so the 1999 Pan Am Games was a boost to the city and province, showcasing its tremendous venues, community spirit and volunteerism. Winnipeg was praised by the president of the Pan Am Games Organization as hosting the best Games since they began in 1951.
Winnipeg did not sit idle for long, as the city also hosted the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championships, which has grown in stature over the years wherever it is held.
To use the vernacular of one of the popular Pan Am Games sports, which was played in our new ballpark along the waterfront, Winnipeg absolutely hit it out of the park in creating such a favourable impression on tourists and media alike.
Fast forward to July 2017 — Winnipeg is now hosting Canada’s 50th Summer Games. A lot has changed in those 18 years (e.g., return of Winnipeg Jets 2.0 version), with much to be proud of when showcasing our city to an expected 20,000 visitors, as well as 4,000 athletes and coaches from across the country who are participating in the 16 sports and a major cultural festival. The economic impact from these Games is projected to be $150 million.
WinnipegREALTORS® is proud to be a community supporter of the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Its Realtor members will be among the thousands of volunteers. Some may have, or know, participants in the games to cheer on.
All of the venues and sporting events schedule, as well as how to purchase tickets, are well outlined at the canadagames.ca/2017 website. The website also lists the festival concert line-up running from July 29 to August 12 at The Forks.
Another website worth checking out is tourismwinnipeg.com with its special edition on the Canada Summer Games. The Tourism Winnipeg website is very helpful in presenting a number of guides on what to do in the city when not at a sporting event.
Winnipeg has a great opportunity to shine due to 40 hours of TSN and RDS live coverage throughout the two-week event.
And let’s not forget to mention other venues for sporting events. Gimli is hosting the sailing competition, while Kenora is the rowing events host. The triathlon is being held at Birds Hill Provincial Park.
The events not only leave legacies for all of the participating athletes, who may go on to higher athletic pursuits — Sidney Crosby, Cindy Klassen, Susan Auch, Steve Nash and Eugenie Bouchard, to name a few — but also a legacy of new and upgraded sports facilities for the city.
At the University of Manitoba Stadium, which was originally constructed for the 1967 Pan Am Games, the track has been resurfaced and there have been other improvements made to field discipline competition areas and the stadium.
Another 1967 legacy is our Pan Am Pool. It too has received some upgrades, including the replacement of the bulkhead and timing equipment, and the addition of a diving dryland training room.
New to Winnipeg, as a result of the 2017 Canada Summer Games, is the Sargent Park Beach Volleyball Centre, located within the Susan Auch Oval. It features 10 permanent beach volleyball courts and will provide greater training opportunities for Manitoba’s athletes.
The most important new facility is the Canada Games Sports for Life Centre. The 124,000-square-foot Qualico Training Centre is the venue for indoor volleyball and basketball. It features three fully convertible court spaces, strength and conditioning areas, aerobic training space, an indoor training track and plyometric training and testing. It is centrally located in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District.
A big shout out to all of the sponsors and volunteers making the Summer Games in Winnipeg possible. Get out and cheer on our next generation of champions, as they’re referred to by host society co-chair Hubert Mesman. And take advantage of one of the best ever assemblage of talented Canadian artists, showcasing their music at The Forks.