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2023 Canada Winter Games: Organizers, volunteers excited after more than 5 years of preparations


Anticipation is building on Prince Edward Island, with the 2023 Canada Winter Games just days away.

More than a dozen venues will welcome thousands of athletes from across the county from Feb. 18 to March 5.

The games’ torch relay wrapped up Tuesday -- something the chair of the host society says is “exciting.”

“We lit the flame in Ottawa on October the 17th so it’s been making its way across the Maritimes to Prince Edward Island. We’ve gone into now 18 communities with the torch on Prince Edward Island and then each night we have a cultural festival associated with that, so that’s pretty exciting and a lot of people had an opportunity to carry the torch,” Wayne Carew told CTV Atlantic’s Todd Battis during an interview.

And the games wouldn’t be possible without volunteers. Carew says there is an “army” of about 5,000 from across Prince Edward Island.

“We just could not put the games on without them. We just can’t thank them enough, they’re involved in all aspects of the Canada Games. Some of our planning volunteers have been involved with this up to about three years. Our volunteer board has been at this five-and-a-half years now.”

For those that can’t make it over to P.E.I. for the games, there will be competitions off-island at Halifax’s Emera Oval skating rink and at Crabbe Mountain ski hill outside Fredericton.

“We were over to the torch event in Halifax a couple months ago, a couple of weeks ago we were at Crabbe Mountain for their kickoff,” Carew says. “We got some incredibly enthusiastic volunteers at both Halifax and Crabbe locations, so it is an opportunity for people in Nova Scotia, and particularly the Halifax region, to see some pretty high-level competition.”

Carew adds that more than 1,200 hours of games will be livestreamed as well.

“We’ll have livestreaming of the opening and closing ceremonies, so it’s a good opportunity for people to join the games and what happens is a grandpa and grandma in Grand Prairie will be able to watch their grandchildren playing in Brookvale, Prince Edward Island. So it’s pretty exciting and it allows for a way for all of Canada to get involved in the games.”

The event will also mark the first time many young athletes will compete at a national level due to the pandemic.

“The Canada Games really gives the nation the first opportunity to see the future – Sidney Crosbys, Connor McDavids, the Hayley Wickenheisers, the Heather Moyses of the world – those next level of Olympians and professional sports athletes will be discovered right here in Prince Edward Island and in Halifax and in Crabbe Mountain,” says Carew.

Organizers had to deal with supply chain issues from the pandemic and recovery efforts from post-tropical storm Fiona in the construction of the event’s venues and facilities.

“But we’re opening a new Olympic-sized oval in North Rustico on Thursday evening, with all the Atlantic provincial ministers in attendance. We’ve got a brand new dome in Summerside, we spent about $5.8 million in the ski facility at Brookvale,” Carew says. “It’s an opportunity to leave legacies that will last for a long, long period of time. So it’s really part of the reason that we all do this.” Top Stories

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