Guy Rousseau made a major contribution to the Canada Games Movement as a pioneer and visionary as he was the Executive Director of the inaugural Canada Winter Games in Québec City in 1967.
The organization of the 1967 Games was a tremendous undertaking considering there was no precedent or standard to follow prior to this. When Rousseau was named Executive Director for the inaugural Games, he was given three years to put all the pieces in place. With the help of a six member permanent staff and a small organizing committee, Rousseau was on his way to creating something special.
Having been a professional elite athlete himself, winning a Calder Cup with the Cleveland Barons and playing four games with the Montreal Canadiens, where he assisted Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s 400th career goal; he embodied the values of athletic competition.
Rousseau would conduct meetings with all the provincial Premiers and territorial Chiefs to convince them to become involved in the Canada Games Movement. Without the involvement of all the provinces and territories, as well as Mr. Rousseau, the creation of the Canada Games would not have been possible.
The first Canada Winter Games also led to the democratization of amateur sport in Canada. The inaugural Games led to the discovery of new talent and the expansion of the base of Canadian amateur athletes and inspired the development of a similar movement in every province and territory.
His efforts also led to a lasting legacy in the Quebec region with the construction of the Mont-St-Anne ski centre chalet, the ski jump in St-Férréol-les-Neiges and the first outdoor speed-skating oval in Quebec.
But he did much more than organize and lead, he was hands on in his efforts. He sold donuts on a street corner in Yellowknife at minus 50 degrees as money needed to be raised to help athletes from the Northwest Territories to participate in the Games. He also convinced dozens, if not hundreds of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré citizens to come with their skis and shovels to Mont-St-Anne to groom the trail as a record snowfall had compromised the following day’s competition.
Guy Rousseau can be proud in the fact that his work continues to be carried on by the Canada Games Council to this day and that thousands of athletes continue to participate in national level competitions. His induction into the Canada Games Hall of Honour is only fitting as his legacy will be helping create what became Canada’s largest multi-sport event.