Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza Opens

Wednesday, 13th February 2019

The final capital project of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza, officially opened today. Also during today’s opening of the Plaza, local philanthropists Jack and Joan Donald were announced as the donors of the 2019 Canada Winter Games legacy art project, Unity Through Sport - 2019, which is featured at the Plaza.  

The Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza is an inclusive and accessible gathering place for all in downtown Red Deer that celebrates the strong volunteer community that Red Deer is known for. From February 16 until March 1, the plaza plays host to the 2019 Games 52° North Music + Cultural Festival, presented by ATB and ATCO.

“We are incredibly proud to open the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza, which is set to host a number of events and celebrations throughout the Games,” said Lyn Radford, Board Chair with the 2019 Games. “We are extremely grateful to Gary W. Harris, the Donalds and all our donors for their meaningful contributions that helped us create an accessible celebration space in the heart of downtown Red Deer, thank our strong volunteer community and leave a legacy art project that highlights the athletic excellence, community spirit and the significance of the 2019 Games in Red Deer.”

“As a former student of Central Elementary School and supporter of volunteerism, I am proud to support a project that revitalizes downtown Red Deer and stands as a tribute to the numerous volunteers in central Alberta,” said Gary W. Harris. “This celebration space stands as an important legacy of the 2019 Games for our community.”

“We supported the Unity Through Sport legacy art piece because it represents a number of elements of the Games, the torch, provinces, territories and sports, which demonstrate the power of the Games to unite our community and country,” said Joan and Jack Donald. “We are proud to play a part in one of several important legacies the Games leaves for the benefit of our community.”

“In addition to Gary W. Harris and the Donalds, there was incredible engagement from a number of corporate and individual donors throughout for this project,” said Radford. “Not only is this now a fully accessible celebration space in the heart of downtown, but the generous support of donors allows this space to provide arts and culture, educational and recreational programming. As well, we were able to create an accessible playground for Central Middle School.”

“The 2019 Canada Winter Games are only possible as a result of strong and committed partners that enable young people to pursue their dreams through sport. I would like to thank and
congratulate Gary W. Harris, as well as Jack and Joan Donald, for joining us as partners and leaving a legacy for Red Deer that will remain long after the Games torch is extinguished,” said Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism for the Province of Alberta.

“Red Deer has a long history of game-changing partnerships and today marks our new era of partnership between The City of Red Deer, Red Deer Public Schools, the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, and generous community donors. We are preserving a heritage building in Red Deer’s downtown with the intent to re-purpose it into a vibrant community destination,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Over the next two weeks, thousands of people will gather here to enjoy Red Deer’s largest outdoor cultural winter festival, during the largest event ever hosted in Central Alberta and the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza helped make this possible.”

“The Canada Games become Canada’s stage, on the field of play and at the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza,” said Tom Quinn, Canada Games Council Chairman. “The 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer represent a unique opportunity to showcase Canada’s finest musical and artistic talent. We are proud of the lasting legacies the Canada Games provide, such as the Plaza’s legacy art project and look forward to some unforgettable moments during the 52° North Festival.”

The 52° North Music + Cultural Festival features Juno and Canadian Country Music Association award winners and is the first multi-cultural event to ever be hosted in central Alberta during the winter. A family-friendly, free festival, 52° North also features local artisans, food vendors and sponsor activations. For more on the 52° North Music + Cultural Festival, visit canadagames.ca/2019/52north.