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Snow doesn't hamper Summer Games tour

Winnipeg bids for 2017 youth sports competition

About 150 enthusiastic students from École Taché waved flags and sang 'O Canada' to the 2017 Canada Summer Games evaluation and bid committees when they stopped by the school Monday morning.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

About 150 enthusiastic students from École Taché waved flags and sang 'O Canada' to the 2017 Canada Summer Games evaluation and bid committees when they stopped by the school Monday morning.

The flurries in the air on Monday were "snow big deal" for Winnipeg's 2017 Canada Summer Games bid committee.

It was all about summer as the city hopes to host the multi-sport games and has submitted a bid to bring the event -- which will feature 20 different sports and about 5,000 young athletes from across Canada -- to the Manitoba capital in four years.

Amid the snow flurries in the air, the local bid committee was a flurry of activity escorting the nine-member Canada Games evaluation committee around Winnipeg to show off its sports and cultural facilities.

A bit of imagination was needed as a spring snowstorm covered anything that was trying to be green with a blanket of the white stuff.

"We know the warm sunshine will come from the personalities (in Manitoba), not the weather," said Wayne Carew, the Canada Games Council bid evaluation committee chairman.

Carew noted the 2017 event will be the 50th Canada Games.

"My role as chairman of the bid evaluation committee is to take back a recommendation to our board, which will meet April 25 and 26... do the facilities throughout the community meet the national sports-hosting guidelines?" he said.

The group made numerous stops during a tour of the city and held a brief press conference at The Forks.

"We absolutely want to showcase all the amenities we have here, all the spirit we have here, the dynamism and also the commitment that Winnipeg has always shown for these types of events," said Mariette Mulaire, co-chair of the Winnipeg bid committee along with Hubert Mesman. "We want to make sure that we leave that kind of impression today."

The committee also ran a Twitter campaign asking people to tweet their support under the hashtag #wewantthegames.

Jeff Hnatiuk, Sport Manitoba CEO and president, said Winnipeg's written bid was submitted on April 5.

"It would be a wonderful opportunity for our Manitoba athletes to compete on a national stage right here at home," Hnatiuk said, noting the bid includes upgrades to the Pan Am Pool and the track at the University of Manitoba.

Brandon previously hosted the 1997 Canada Summer Games and the 1979 Winter Games.

The 2013 Canada Summer Games will be held Aug. 2 to 17 in Sherbrooke, Que., while the 2015 Canada Winter Games are set for Prince George, B.C.

Winnipeg does not currently have any competition for the 2017 Summer Games, but needs to impress the committee to earn the host rights.

Carew said the Canada Games is the largest sporting event in Canada and a major stepping stone for future elite athletes.

"Manitobans will get a first-hand look at the next future Olympians and professional sports athletes," he said.

At the 2012 London Olympic Games, half of Canada's Olympians and 47 per cent of the medal winners were former Canada Games athletes, he said.

In a statement, Mayor Sam Katz said the projected economic impact of the 2017 Canada Summer Games would be expected to rival the $100-million impact of Halifax's 2011 Canada Winter Games.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

 

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