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1987 Canada Winter Games

Cape Breton, NS
Cape Breton, NS

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1987 Canada Winter Games
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February 14 – 28, 1987


For the Winter Games in 1987, Cape Breton was a natural host. With their distinct culture, hard work ethic, integrity and pride, it was assured that the Games would be colourful, professional and successful, simply because the people wouldn't have it any other way. Nova Scotia then became the first province to host a Canada Summer and Winter Games. Ontario took home the flag, and Quebec won the Centennial Cup. The Games in Cape Breton were made up of 17 different sports. The Jack Pelech award was handed out in a tie, to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. But as the Games ended, Cape Breton was left with new facilities that helped not only the University but also helped Cape Breton acquire an AHL franchise affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers.

Economic Impact

Sydney Board of Trade President Eric Schibler figured about $1 million was pumped into the Cape Breton economy during the weeks of the Games. Friends of the Games managed to raise $3.5 million and ended with a profit of $1.9 million. The money was dispersed around the Island into things like scholarships, help for a hospital for eye injuries, and cultural pursuits as well as sports.


Male athletes: 1180

Female athletes: 815

Total athletes: 1995

Total coaches/managers: 417



The Island was left with a corps of volunteers and an attitude of "we can do it" which led in recent years since, to their hosting the National Badminton Championships, the Atlantic Figure Skating Championships, the National Cross Country Ski Championships and the World Power Lifting Championships, among other things.

Infrastructure Improvements

As a result of Sydney having its bicentennial and hosting the Canada Games in the same year a new rink was constructed for the events. Seating about 4000 people and costing $14 million the new rink was a lasting legacy from the Games. About $1 million of the cost came out of the Canada Games budget for the 1987 Games. As a consequence of the building, Sydney acquired an American Hockey League franchise, affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers. An arena with an Olympic sized ice surface was constructed on the Campus of the University College of Cape Breton with seating for 1,800, adding to the legacy of the Games.


Nova Scotia novice dancers Angie Coady and Glenn MacCara, both 16 finished first in the figure skating compulsories and fought off an attack of the jitters to put in the golden skate in the variation dance to win it all. Along the way, young Jim Dan Corbett, who helped light the Games torch in the opening ceremonies unexpectedly grabbed a bronze medal.

Did you know?

  • This was the first time that a province went into the record books as hosting both a Summer and Winter Canada Games.
  • Sound Nova Scotia frugality made these 1987 Canada Winter Games a rare bargain in a time of wildly escalating costs.
  • The host municipality was not Sydney but the municipality of the County of Cape Breton, which has 20 districts and which includes Sydney and other communities.
  • The official mascot for the 1987 Canada Games was Digger SeaGull.
  • The theme for the 1987 Games was "The Challenge to Excel".

Cape Breton, NS
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