History of the Canada Games
The idea of the Canada Games was first suggested in 1924 by Norton Crow, secretary of the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada, but received little support. The idea often resurfaced in the next 25 years but each time met with lukewarm response. In 1962, the chairman of the National Advisory Council on Fitness and Amateur Sports once again suggested a sports festival. A Québec lawyer, André Marceau, took the initiative and, along with other sports authorities in Québec, set up a corporation of the top Canadian winter sports. On 30 May 1965, a financial agreement was signed and the first Canada Winter Games finally came into being.
In 1964, the Canadian Centennial Commission recommended that winter games be held in 1967 and the federal government endorsed the idea. Since then, summer and winter games have been held every four years. Their objectives are to encourage the development of first-rate sports facilities, to train as many young athletes as possible to international standards, to encourage competition in the provinces and territories, and to develop human resources from judges on up to director general of the Games' organizing groups. At the end of a Canada Games, the Centennial Cup is awarded to the province or territory that makes the greatest improvement from one Games to another.
Canada Summer Games
Sports available to Summer Games athletes include track and field, baseball, basketball, canoeing/kayaking, cycling, diving, field hockey, rowing, rugby/football, sailing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and wrestling.
Past Summer Games have been hosted by Halifax/Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (1969); Burnaby, British Columbia (1973); St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (1977); Thunder Bay, Ontario(1981); Saint John, New Brunswick (1985); Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (1989); Kamloops, British Columbia (1993); Brandon, Manitoba (1997); London, Ontario (2001); Regina, Saskatchewan (2005); Summerside, Prince Edward Island (2009); and Sherbrooke, Québec (2013).
Canada Winter Games
Various sports, both winter and indoor, are available to Winter Games athletes. These include alpine skiing, archery, artistic gymnastics, badminton, biathlon, boxing, cross-country skiing, curling, fencing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, hockey, judo, ringette, shooting, speed skating, squash, synchronized swimming, tennis, and wheelchair basketball.
Past Winter Games have been hosted by Québec City, Québec (1967); Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (1971); Lethbridge, Alberta (1975); Brandon, Manitoba (1979); Saguenay, Québec (1983); Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia (1987); Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (1991); Grande Prairie, Alberta (1995); Cornerbrook, Newfoundland and Labrador (1999); Bathurst/Campbellton, New Brunswick (2003); Whitehorse, Yukon(2007); Halifax, Nova Scotia (2011); and Prince George, British Columbia (2015).
Canada Games Athletes
To be chosen to compete in both the summer and winter Games, athletes must fulfil specific selection criteria: they must be 12–18 years at the time of competition, placed well in the required provincial qualifying tournaments, and be a member of the national team.
The Canada Games have played an important role in the development of some of Canada’s most successful athletes, including Toller Cranston, Bob Gainey, Sylvie Daigle, Catriona LeMay Doan, Bruny Surin, Annie Pelletier, Hayley Wickenheiser, Marc Gagnon, Steve Nash, Alexandre Despatie, Adam Van Koeverden, Sidney Crosby, Charles Hamelin, Marianne St-Gelais, Steven Stamkos, Mark McMorris, Anthony Bennett, Nathan Mackinnon, Eugenie Bouchard, Lennox Lewis, Gaétan Boucher, Cassie Campbell, Debbie Brill, Andre De Grasse, Nicolas Gill, Cindy Klassen, Jennifer Heil, Diane Matheson and Rhian Wilkinson.