In 1979, Manitoba welcomed Canada to Brandon, the host city for the seventh iteration of the Canada Games. Over the course of 13 days from February 12 to 24th, the 1979 Canada Winter Games in Brandon welcomed athletes, coaches and managers from all 12 provinces and territories across the nation. This community-wide event involved one in nine citizens out of the small population of 38,000 at the time.
There were no islands to move, no lakes to be created, no mountains to build, but that didn't make things any easier for the organizing committee. Staging a Canada Games is a tall order... the ceremony and pageantry involved, the complexity of sports, and feeding and housing more than 2,000 athletes and officials.
This helped to bring the community closer together and make them feel empowered that they could host an event the size of the Canada Games. Games President Alex Matheson believed that the greatest portion of the Canada Games legacy came in human resources. The City of Brandon proved itself to the world and to themselves, and with the new-found confidence in their organizational abilities, they "came of age", as Matheson said.
The city was left with a brand new sportsplex of $3M, which includes a hockey arena with seating for 400, a 50-metre, six-lane swimming pool, racquetball courts and a speed skating oval. Facilities at Mount Agassiz, the alpine ski site, were given a major overhaul at a cost of almost half a million dollars. New cross-country ski trails were developed in the hills south of Brandon, and a number of schools and other facilities around the city were given facelifts.
The 1979 Canada Winter Games in Brandon brought together 1,962 athletes to participate in 17 different sports.