Friday, August 19, 2011

Western Canada Summer Games 2011~ Kamloops, BC ~ Closing Ceremony

The Western Canada Summer Games brought excitement and fun to Kamloops, BC August 5, 2011 and left Aug.14, 2011 after a very successful and memorable ten days. The Tournament Capital of Canada made itself proud with all the volunteers that came out to help make these events the success that they were.

Western Canada Summer Games 2011 logo
The Western Canada Games was first held in Regina in 1975 and has been a big event one year ahead of the Olympics and using the same 23 summer sports in their events ever since. It began with only the provinces but in 1983 the Yukon and Northwest Territories joined and Nunavut has been a member since 2003 to complete the group representing Western Canada.

Kayakers on Shumway Lake, Kamloops, BC
The Western Canada Games 2011 included 19 sports in venues in and around the city. Shumway Lake was the venue used for the kayaking and canoeing sports. I didn't see the races but did see many of the athletes practicing on days previous to the medal races.

Ulukhaktok Drummers and Dancers perform at Riverside Park, Kamloops, BC
The Ulukhaktok Drummers and Dancers from the Northwest Territories performed in their heavy costumes and made mention that they were not used to the heat that we had that day, but they carried on with their show in spite of the heat. The spirit and enthusiasm shown especially by this dancer was great fun to watch. The group also performed at the closing ceremonies held inside in much cooler temperatures.

 TkKemlups Traditions made to order
There were arts, crafts and entertainment daily in Riverside Park beginning at 4pm and going until later evening with Music in the Park.  The crowds slowly gathered but enjoyed the sights and the great weather that cooperated with the Western Canada Summer Games.

Athletes enjoy the cool water of the South Thompson River at Riverside Park
Riverside Park in Kamloops, BC is a beautiful park with large trees and several enjoyable places to sit and enjoy lots of activities but the warm temperatures made the South Thompson River quite inviting after the teams worked hard on their events.  Many of these visiting teams are not used to the high summer temperatures that Kamloops was enjoying and the river down at Riverside Park was a welcome sight.

Athletes gather for the Closing Ceremonies at Riverside Park, Kamloops, BC
The Closing ceremonies were about to begin and the athletes gathered in Riverside Park before their entering the ceremonies held in Interior Savings Center. There were many empty seats in the bleachers but the enthusiasm given by the crowd that was there filled the room with lots of noise and applause for the athletes as they entered the arena. The sportsmanlike support given by each province and territory for the other athletes was great to see.

Closing Ceremonies for Western Canada Summer Games 2011
There were 2300 athletes with coaches and 3000 volunteers for the Western Canada Summer Games and the arena was filled with an excited crowd as the awards were announced and final speeches of praise given to them all. The lights were dim and didn't allow for getting good photos but the crowd was loud and the closing ceremony bid goodbye with a great feeling of a job well done by all.

Kamloops, BC did a wonderful job and can be proud of all that it has done to help make the Western Canada Summer Games 2011 the great success that it was. Kamloops has set the bar high for the Western Canada Summer Games to be held in 2015 at Wood Buffalo, Alberta.

Click here for more information and the medal results of the Western Canada Summer Games 2011.