We were promised the Hottest Summer in Half a Century, and we were not disappointed. Not only have the Canada Games started off with competitive spirit and energy, but local residents have equally stepped up their game in exuding warmth and hospitality to visitors from afar.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for our city to showcase to the nation what this community has to offer.” explains mayor Brian Bowman. He calls Winnipeg, “A world class host city for sports events like this.”
It doesn’t take long to see just how far Manitobans are willing to go to make athletes and their families feel welcome. From friendly and enthusiastic volunteers greeting athletes at the airport to local cottage owners offering boat rides to spectators hoping to watch the sailing competitions at the Gimli Yacht Club. As for supporting the games themselves, mayor Bowman says, “The response started early with corporate sponsorship and it continued with over 6,000 volunteers that have stepped up.” A hearty Manitoban is used to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, so it should come as no surprise that the scorching heat doesn’t stop volunteers from cheerfully greeting sports fans, accommodating athletes, and ensuring that venus stay in tip top shape for the competitions.
As for the rest of the city, “That support has been strong and growing,” Bowman continues, “We’re now seeing the response at venues [such as] beach volleyball with packed bleachers”. He realizes that turnouts will be different at each venue depending on which team is playing, but the venus that Mr. Bowman has so far visited have had, “A great response from Winnipeggers and from those that are visiting from out of the province”. Spectators found a variety of ways to beat the heat at the outdoor venues from a shaded lunch to sharing a parasol. There were even some who sought to defend the “Slurpee Capital” title by cooling off with one in the stands. One thing remains clear, if Team Toba is playing, Manitobans are more than prepared to come out and show their support.
Even after the sun has set, the scene is still abuzz as spectators make their way from the venues to the Forks for some post competition celebrations. Like the newly lit sign that bears its name, the city of Winnipeg is aglow with pride and shines bright with generosity and friendliness as it continues to welcome guests in town for the Canada Games.