The countdown has begun for Red Deer to prepare to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The games will be the largest multi-sport event to be held in Alberta since the 1988 Olympics. Over 21 sports are offered with 14 arenas staged to entertain the events.
“After receiving the bid for the games the economy went down, but over time the games have acted as a great catalyst for projects and economic stability,” Lyn Radford, the board chair of the Winter Games, said.
The event has opened the opportunity for Red Deer to place a bid to be a B host community for future Olympic events.
“The games will leave a huge physical legacy for the community,” Radford said.
The event has fast-tracked numerous projects within the community. The Highway 2/ Gaetz Avenue interchange, the Gary W Harris Canada Games Centre and Servus Arena have all been constructed to coincide with the event.
The $79.8-million interchange initiative was awarded in 2016 and its completion is targeted to be before the games. The project aims to ease traffic flow and safety concerns for the community.
The Garry W Harris Centre and newly built Servus Arena were also designed specifically for the games. The two projects combined are estimated to cost over $100 million and will benefit Red Deer and neighbouring communities for future sporting endeavours.
A physical imprint marks the significance of the games for Red Deer.
“We want to break away from the place known to be in between Edmonton and Calgary,” said Radford.
Watch below: In 2014, the Canada Games Council revealed that Red Deer would host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
The city hasn’t hosted an event of this magnitude before but has managed events such as the Memorial Cup in 2016 and hopes to take a page from that experience for the games.
“The games are an opportunity to showcase community pride and leave a legacy and that is what we hope to accomplish this winter games.”