Earlier today, Athletes Claire Carver-Dias and Carla MacLeod, along with Builders Ted Bigelow and Blair McIntosh, were inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour.
“This year’s class of inductees are each most deserving of their induction into the Canada Games Hall of Honour,” says Tom Quinn, Canada Games Council Chairman. “From Claire Carver-Dias’ heroics in the pool and her contributions to the Canada Games Movement through our Sport Committee to Blair McIntosh’s years of work shaping the Canada Games into what it is today, each inductee have their own unique story of how they are true champions of the Canada Games.”
Induction into the Canada Games Hall of Honour occurs every two years during each Canada Games. The Hall of Honour recognizes, honours and celebrates exceptional Canada Games alumni who have distinguished themselves as athletes, coaches, officials or administrators, or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the development and advancement of the Canada Games property.
Claire Carver-Dias, Olympic synchronize swimmer who competed for Team Ontario at the 1995 Canada Games, had this to say about her induction in the Hall of Honour.
“Canada Games was definitely the primary highlight of my early sporting life and a turning point moment for me. Its timing intersected with a moment in time when I had begun to believe that I could make a career in synchronized swimming... and I found myself competing at this incredible event, the flag of my ‘new’ province on my back (I was originally from Quebec but had moved to Ontario the year before the Games and was a part of the Ontario team), head-to-head with the best synchro swimmers of my age group, surrounded by world-class Canadian athletes from other sports. Canada Games fueled the passion for sport that was growing in me.”
Carla MacLeod, who participated at two Canada Games and used these experiences to propel her careers, attributes the Canada Games as having played a significant role in shaping her as a hockey player.
“At the 1995 Games my Olympic dream emerged. I left Grande Prairie and for the first time in my life I knew I wanted to play at the Olympics. I started practicing my autograph! In 1999, my teammates and I were able to capture the bronze medal after playing in triple overtime! The chance to stand on the podium provided me a glimpse into what it takes to win on a big stage. The Canada Games are part of the foundation that allowed me to live my dream.”
Ten years ago, in February of 2007, the inaugural induction into the Canada Games Hall of Honour took place at a ceremony in Whitehorse, Yukon as part of the 2007 Canada Winter Games. The induction celebrated former Canada Games Chairman Jack Pelech for his years of volunteer support and countless contributions. To date, there have been five classes inducted into the Hall of Honour in Games-years, making this year’s class the sixth 2007. Click here to see the entire list of past inductees.
“The Hall of Honour has become a Canada Games tradition where we can pay homage to the people who have given back so much to the Canada Games,” says Quinn. “We are thrilled to be adding these four esteemed individuals to an already prestigious list that includes Catriona Le May Doan, Roly McLenahan, Cassie Campbell, and former Canada Games Chairman Jack Pelech.
The induction ceremony took place at Metropolitan Entertainment Centre on July 27th, 2017 as part of the celebrations for the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg taking place from July 28th to August 13th.
Claire Carver-Dias is widely considered one of the top Canadian Synchronized Swimmers of all time. One of the highlights of her athletic career came when she won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sidney Olympic Games in the team competition. She would later go on to have tremendous success at other multi-sport Games, including the 2002 Commonwealth Games where she captured a gold medal in both Solo and Duet.
That being said, Claire’s first taste of a multi-sport Games came at the 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta, where she competed for Team Ontario. She thrived at these Games earning a Silver medal in Solo, Duet and Team Competitions. Claire would use the invaluable experience she gained at these Games to propel her athletic career towards national, international and Olympic success.
Following her retirement from competition, she coached at the national level and was involved in supporting the Canadian Sport System through Canada Games partners including, sitting on the Coaching Association of Canada’s Board of Directors and fulfilling the role of Chair and President of AthletesCan from 2006-2008.
Claire has also given back to the Canada Games Movement through the years as a member of the Canada Games Council Sport Committee and as a mentor to up-and-coming athletes.
Recently, Carver-Dias has been actively involved with the Commonwealth Games where she was elected to the Board of Directors in 2014 and was appointed as Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Carla MacLeod is well-known for playing an integral role in Canada’s Olympic Gold Medal wins in 2006 and 2010. She was a stallworth defensive presence that provided stability to Canada’s blue line.
Her dream of competing at the Olympics first emerged when she put on the Team Alberta colours at the 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie. Once she got her first taste of a multi-sport event at the Canadase Games, she knew she wanted to compete at the Olympics against the best in the world.
Carla would once against represent Team Alberta four years later at the 1999 Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook. Four years older and four years wiser, she knew a stellar performance at these Games would help her build towardsachieve her Olympic dream. Alongside her teammates, Carla stood-out at these Games as Team Alberta went on to win the Bronze medal match in triple overtime. Standing on the podium gave her a glimpse into what is would be to stand on the podium representing her countryCanada.
CarlaMacLeod would represent her country multiples times, notably in 2005, 2008 and 2009 where she won Silver on Canada’s National Team and in 2007 when they won the Gold.
Carla attributes the Canada Games as having played a significant role in shaping her hockey career, and what a career it was.
In Manitoba, it’s hard not to mention the Canada Games and Ted Bigelow in the same sentence.
Ted was appointed Chef de Mission for Team Manitoba for a series of Games starting in 1995. From the moment he was named Chef, Ted demonstrated immense passion for the Games and always put the athletes first.
Ted would make it a point to get to know each and every single athlete that was part of Team Toba. He knew eachtheir name and always found time in his busy schedule to chat and encouragewith them in the lead up and during the Canada Games. At Games-time, Ted visited each sport venue, quickly identified the Team Manitoba athletes and coaches by name, and gave them all a high-five to wish them luck.
Ted’s heartfelt interest in the athletes’ well-being of the athletes endeared him to not only his mission team, but also garnered substantial admiration from his peers.
Team Manitoba won the Centennial Cup, the award identifying greatest improvement, in 1999, 2005, and 2013, and a lot of it was thanks to Ted’s exemplary leadership. His unwavering support and encouragement of the athletes generated a morale boost for the whole team which in turn, translated into positive results.
Blair McIntosh has been a true champion of the Canada Games for many years. Having been a member of involved in 15 Team Ontario winning Mission Teams, 7 of them as Chef de Mission, Blair has truly lived the Canada Games and is a tremendous ambassador of the Movement.
At the 2007 Canada Games, Blair led Team Ontario to the Claude Hardy Award, an award that recognizes the talents and dedication of a provincial or territorial Mission Team. This was the first time in the history of the Canada Games history that Ontario won the award, and Blair’s leadership as Team Ontario Chef de Mission played a crucial role.
Having been thoroughly involved with the Canada Games from a sport technical perspective, Blair served on the Canada Games Council Sport Committee for 10 years, helping to shape the Canada Games into what they are today. He participated in the development of a number of transformative policy changes, including the further inclusionincorporation on the Games program of athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities into the Games program.