In 1971, Saskatchewan welcomed Canada to Saskatoon for the third iteration of the Canada Games. Over the course of 12 days from February 11th to the 22nd, athletes, coaches and managers competed at the highest level in a variety of sports. The first winner of the Centennial Cup for biggest improvement was awarded to Team Prince Edward Island. Team Ontario took home the Canada Games Flag.
The creation of Blackstrap Mountain was regarded as one of the greatest infrastructure improvements of the Canada Games. Built in the middle of the prairies to host the alpine skiing events, it proved to be the greatest draw of the Games. The mountain has a vertical drop of 100m and a run of about 350m.
Future NHLers Jimmy Jones and Bob Gainey helped lead Ontario to a gold medal, as hockey was second in attendance at the Games with 35,000 fans crowded into two arenas to watch the action.
The creation of Blackstrap Mountain is a lasting legacy that continues to be enjoyed by Saskatoon residents, used for biking in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The man made hill cost approximately $600,000 to build, the total cost included snowmaking, lifts and a day lodge.
The 1971 Canada Winter Games in Saskatoon brought together 687 athletes to participate in 17 different sports.