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Wintry weather greets Canada Summer Games committee

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The flurries in the air was "snow big deal" for Winnipeg's bid committee for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

It was all about summer today as Winnipeg hopes to host the multi-sport games and has submitted a bid to bring the event, which will feature 20 different sports and about 5,000 youth athletes from across Canada, to the Manitoba capital in the summer of 2017.

Amid the snow flurries in the air today, the local bid committee was a flurry of activity escorting the nine-member Canada Games Evaluation Commmittee around Winnipeg to show off its sports and cultural facilities.

A bit of imagination was needed as a spring snow storm covered anything that was trying to be green with a blanket of the white stuff.

"We know the warm sunshine will come from the personalities (in Manitoba), not the weather," said Wayne Carew, the Canada Games Council Bid Evaluation Committee Chair.

Carew, who is from Prince Edward Island, noted the 2017 event will be the 50th Canada Games.

"My role as chairman of the Bid Evaluation Committee is to take back a recommendation to our board, which will meet April 25-26, (as to) do the facilities throughout the community meet the national sports hosting guidelines," he said.

The group toured the city with numerous stops which included a brief press conference at The Forks following a ceremonial drum performance by Four Directions Drummers and École Taché where bilingual students sang O Canada.

Jeff Hnatiuk, Sport Manitoba CEO and president, said Winnipeg’s written bid was submitted on April 5.

"It would be a wonderful opportunity for our Manitoba athletes to compet on a national stage right here at home," Hnatiuk said, noting the bid includes upgrades to the track at the University of Manitoba Stadium and the Pan Am Pool.

"Winnipeg would be one of the largest centres to be considered for the Canada Games."

Brandon previously hosted the 1997 Canada Summer Games and the 1979 Winter Games.

The 2013 Canada Summer Games will be held Aug. 2-17 at Sherbrooke, Que., while the 2015 Canada Winter Games are set for Prince George, B.c.

Winnipeg does not have any competition for the 2017 Summer Games at this time but needs to impress the committee to earn the host rights.

Carew said the Canada Games is the largest sporting event in Canada and a major stepping stone for future elite athletes.

"You’re going to be welcoming over 5,000 athletes from across the country and that’s going to represent over 800 communities from across the nation, from coast to coast to coast. Manitobans will get a first-hand look at the next future Olympians and professional sports athletes."

He said the 2012 London Olympic Games, half of Canada’s Olympians and 47 per cent of the medal winners were former Canada Games athletes.

"It does bring Canadians together."

In a statement, Mayor Sam Katz stated the projected economic impact of the 2017 Canada Summer Games would be expected to rival that of Halifax’s 2011 Canada Winter Games, where there was an impact in excess of $100 million.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

 

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