Today, in keeping with a Canadian tradition, the Canada Games Roly McLenahan Torch was lit on Parliament Hill from the Centennial Flame, signaling the start of the 2017 Canada Summer Games’ Manitoba Hydro Torch Relay. This highly symbolic ceremony brings the energy and excitement of the 2017 Canada Summer Games to the nation and connects the capital city to the 13 provinces and territories that will send 4,000 athletes and coaches to Winnipeg to participate in the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games from July 28 to August 13.
The Roly McLenahan Torch was lit by Canada Games Alumna Sami Jo Small (1991, Hockey; 1993, 1997 Athletics), who also acted as emcee for the ceremony.
“The lighting of the Roly McLenahan Torch is always an iconic moment for each Canada Games,” said Tom Quinn, Canada Games Council Chairman. “With this being Canada’s 150th birthday and our 50th anniversary, you could feel a special sense of excitement in the air during the ceremonial lighting. The spirit of the Canada Games truly resides within the flame.”
The Torch will now embark on the Manitoba Hydro Torch Relay where it will bring the excitement of the Games to 11 communities across Manitoba and Kenora, including:
- Steinbach (June 23)
- Kenora (June 24)
- Morden (June 29)
- Gillam/Fox Lake Cree Nation (July 1)
- Thompson (July 6)
- The Pas/Opaskwayak Cree Nation (July 10)
- Dauphin (July 11)
- Sagkeeng/Great Falls (July 14)
- Gimli (July 15)
- Brandon (July 20)
- Winnipeg (July 26)
A delegation from the 2017 Canada Summer Games Host Society hosted today’s event, including Mariette Mulaire, Co-chair, Jeff Hnatiuk, President and CEO, and Elder Dave Courchene, who offered fire teachings and led a ceremony. The delegation officially invited the nation to journey to Winnipeg for the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games.
“We can’t wait to welcome the nation to Winnipeg, Gimli, and Kenora,” remarked Jeff Hnatiuk, President and CEO, 2017 Canada Games Host Society. “Our volunteers and staff are in the final stages of preparation and everyone is pitching in to get our host cities ready for Canada’s best young athletes and over 20,000 visitors. The Manitoba Hydro Torch Relay gives us an opportunity to celebrate sport, community, and culture across every corner of the province in the weeks leading up to Games.”
With today’s torch lighting, excitement continues to build towards the 50th anniversary Games where thousands of Canada’s top young athletes will converge in Winnipeg from July 28th to August 13th for a memorable two weeks of high-level competition. The Canada Games are Canada’s largest multi-sport event for developing athletes and are a key stepping stone for our next generation of national, international and Olympic Champions. On average, 40% of Canada’s roster at the Olympics is made up of athletes who have competed at the Canada Games.
“I’m thrilled to have been part of such a historic ceremony and carry on this Canadian tradition, especially as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “Lighting the Roly McLenahan Torch on Parliament Hill is an integral part of the Canada Games and services as a physical representation of the spirit of competition between communities. The ceremony builds excitement and anticipation for the amazing performances we witness at every Games. Canadians can be proud of the role they play in supporting our future athletes through the Canada Games.”