The Canada Summer Games officially got underway Friday night as hundreds of performers and thousands of athletes from across the country took part in a raucous opening ceremonies bash in Winnipeg.
“Tonight was incredible. We had no idea,” said Sherri Hogan, whose 16-year-old son Thomas Hogan plays post for the Prince Edward Island men’s basketball team.
Hogan and more than 20 other family and friends from P.E.I. made the 2,500-kilometre trip to Winnipeg in time to take in the two-hour kickoff of the 50th games, dubbed “We are Canada,” at Bell MTS Place.
“The magnitude of the entire thing … it really drove home the significance of what these boys have been training for for 22 months. This has been quite a journey.”
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister thanked the approximately 5,500 volunteers for their commitment to helping the Games get off the ground.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Manitoba to show we can put on the best games in 50 years right here,” the premier said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held his daughter’s hand as Mounties led him, Pallister, federal Minister of Sport Carla Qualtrough, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand and other officials from across Canada into the arena to a wild applause from sports fans in the stands.
A procession of amateur athletes under the age of 22 competing in 16 different sports at the games filed into the arena waving provincial flags while another group of youth performed a synchronized dance.
Elder Dave Courchene Jr. delivered a prayer after the athletes got settled in their seats,…