Roseneath, Prince Edward Island – At an event on the island today, the Canada Games Council officially awarded the 2009 Canada Summer Games to the Province of Prince Edward Island.
Canada Games Council Chairman Larry Smith presented a Canada Games flag to the Honourable Pat Binns, Premier of Prince Edward Island, the Honourable Elmer MacFadyen Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, and Minister Responsible for Sport and Recreation, and the Honourable Minister Michael Chong, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister for Sport and then spoke of the high hopes for the 2009 Games.
“Come 2009, these unique Games will have the entire Province of Prince Edward Island engaged in hosting the 4,500 of Canada’s most promising next generation national, international and Olympic champions,” said Larry Smith, Chairman of the Canada Games Council. “These Games will mark Prince Edward Island’s second time hosting our Games, Charlottetown having hosted the winter Games in 1991, but a first in having an entire Province engaged in planning, supporting, and delivering the 22nd edition of this prestigious summer event.”
Accepting the flag, and the task of hosting the Games the Premier of Prince Edward Island the Honourable Pat Binns spoke of the island’s ability to host and support an event of this scope.
“We are ready, willing and able to bring the rest of Canada to our province and to produce the best games ever in 2009!” said Premier Binns. “We are fortunate to enjoy a close working relationship with the government of Canada, the Canada Games Council, the corporate community and Island municipalities, all of whom will be working with us to ensure these games are a success.”
In addition to Larry Smith, Premier Pat Binns, and Minister Elmer MacFadyen, special Federal representatives included Minister Michael Chong (Sport) who was joined by Minister Lawrence Cannon (Infrastructure), and Minister Peter MacKay, (ACOA and Foreign Affairs). The award of the Games was in part made due to the confirmation of public funding for the 2009 Games.
“Canada’s new Government is pleased to announce this additional contribution of $3 million to help Prince Edward Island make these province-wide Canada Summer Games an outstanding success,” said Minister Chong. “These Games provide young Canadians with an opportunity to develop their abilities and will give them the experience they need to compete for Canada at the international level. The Games also strengthen communities and build legacies for future generations.”
Also at the event, Chair of the 2009 Canada Games Bid Committee, Joseph Spriet was officially announced as President of the 2009 Host Society.
“The job ahead will be both challenging and rewarding and will require a lot of work on the part of the Host Committee, sports organizations, coaches, trainers, administrators, business operators, and volunteers,” said Mr. Spriet. “I am confident however that together we are up to the task.”
Held once every two years, alternating between summer and winter, the 2009 Canada Summer Games will represent the highest level of national competition for the next generation of national team athletes and future champions. Since the first Games in 1967 in Quebec City, more than 50,000 young athletes have participated in the Canada Games.
In 2006, Canada Games Alumni achieved great success at the Turin Winter Games. In fact, more than half of the Canadian Olympic medalists in Turin were Canada Games Alumni. The 2009 Canada Summer Games will be key in the development of Canada’s next generation national, international and Olympic champions. The Games have acted as a stepping stone for many of Canada’s celebrated athletes, including: Toller Cranston (1967), Bob Gainey (1971), Catriona LeMay Doan (1983 and 1987), Bruny Surin (1985), Marc Gagnon (1991), Steve Nash (1993), Alexandre Despatie (1997), Adam Van Koeverden (1997) and Sidney Crosby (2003).
At the event, World and Olympic champion Dave “Eli” MacEachern (1985, 1989) spoke of his love for the island and what the Games coming to Prince Edward Island will mean to the athletes. By video, alumnus Catriona LeMay Doan also spoke about her love of the Canada Games.
The 2009 Host Society will now continue its evolution from bid committee to Host Society employing up to 120 staff members and engaging thousands of volunteers, and the entire Province of Prince Edward Island.
The 2009 Canada Summer Games will be held in August 2009.