Thirty years later: A look back at the 1987 Canada Games in Cape Breton
Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Canada Winter Games in Cape Breton, which is known by many as one of the most successful events on the island to date.
Nearly 2,000 athletes from the 10 provinces and two territories thrilled fans for a couple of whirlwind weeks.
Lynnette Chiasson was the only Cape Bretoner on Nova Scotia’s women’s volleyball team. She says she still remembers what it felt like.
"I remember vividly playing at the Canada Games complex. It was unreal to play at (Cape Breton University),” said Chiasson. “To play in front of the home crowd where my family could actually be here and watch meant the world to me."
Events were held in the Sydney area, along with skiing competitions held at Cape Smokey near Ingonish – making the '87 games a truly island-wide event.
"Just to see the buzz at CBU with all the athletes that were there,” said Chiasson. “Breton Education Centre was another spot that had athletes out there as well. We were all over the CBRM."
In many ways, the legacy of those games 30 years ago still lives on today. The Canada Games complex at Cape Breton University is still in use today for hockey, among other sports.
Other lasting legacies are carried on by the people who were involved in the games.Thirty years later, Chiasson still coaches youth volleyball.
"If I hadn't have played back then, I probably wouldn't be coaching now," she said.
In true Cape Breton fashion, about 6,000 volunteers stepped up to help out. The island has changed quite a bit since then, but Chiasson feels Cape Breton could host another Canada Games someday and do a great job of it.
"To be here and see the home crowd cheering for you and knowing they were cheering for Nova Scotia, you'll never have that feeling unless you've been part of the games," said Chiasson.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.