I, like many others in this community, have had moments where I have been outwardly critical of decisions made by government at all levels. It seems to be in our nature as Canadians to be somewhat skeptical of our politics and more so our politicians.
This week’s offering though is not to question politics but to congratulate initiative and recognize those involved with the current Canada Games pitch.
The Games have changed dramatically since we last hosted the nation and this city has changed immensely in that time as well. The 1979 Canada Games set the stage for major curling events and the World Youth Baseball championships, but it seems Brandon was cutting its teeth on modern hosting gigs when we landed the Games of 1997. Although only 15 years ago, it was a very different time and the face of our community was vastly different.
I personally remember those Games fondly; I was fresh out of school and volunteered at the venues to experience our Canadian version of the Olympics. I was fortunate to have the chance to be a part of it, as well as have the opportunity to stage a show with fellow actors for the delegates, both amazing experiences and both very memorable. The Games were all around us and the best athletes in this country were on display with Brandon as their stage. There was a sense of optimism and we were proud to show Canada what the Wheat City had to offer. It made us happy as a community; it made me happy to show off my home.
Fast forward 15 years to the recent bid and we once again are presented the chance to "show off" what Brandon has to offer. I have followed intently the progress of our current bid and I must say I was glad to see glimpses of that renewed sense of pride this week as some very talented folks showed off the best a new Brandon had to offer.
From the initial greeting to the finale wind up, the bid committee carried themselves with a professional demeanor and a positive, realistic sense of their community and what it would have to offer. They are on the right track, they are well led by some truly dedicated volunteers and they put an exclamation point on the pitch this past week as delegates paid the city a visit.
As mentioned in the Sun this week, Canada Games Council senior advisor Wayne Carew said of our fair city, "You certainly have an incredibly enthusiastic community."
That enthusiasm can be contagious and I personally hope the fever catches.Whether you are a sports fan or not, events like the Canada Games have a way of uniting residents and providing us a common goal to work towards, with the lasting effect being felt long after the closing ceremonies. Potential upgrades to facilities or renewal of city properties being the biggest plus of any games bid.
The word is out and the buzz is growing for Canada Games potential, and although we are the only community on the ballot, it is far from a signed and sealed done deal. It still took a tremendous amount of planning and often is more difficult running unopposed when the opportunity exists to receive a "no thank you," a fact I’m sure is weighing on their minds, pushing organizers to go the extra mile, the instance of which is evident in this pitch.
One aspect of the new offering that cannot be overlooked though is the opportunity to showcase the many cultures that now make up an ever increasing segment of our population, proud new Canadians, able to tell their story to a new generation of viewers, athletes, hosts and patrons.
I’m a firm believer in positivity and was always taught to give recognition for a job well done, which is why I tip my hat via this week’s column to the bid committee and the volunteers who will help put a shine on the city should the Games come our way.
I wish all of you the best of luck as we await word on the pitch and its success. I know if Brandon has the opportunity to host again, we will make it everything members of the committee said it will be and more. This community has a way of coming together and 2017 would be an exciting new chapter should we have the opportunity to write it.
» Shaun Cameron is a lifelong Brandon resident. He has dabbled in politics and is now chair of Renaissance Brandon, the city’s downtown development corporation. His column appears regularly.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 15, 2012