Those Games will be a key part of celebrations to commemorate Prince Edward Island’s 150th anniversary of joining Canada.
The Cradle of Confederation balked at being a charter member of our new country in 1867 and waited six years before it finally accepted the economic and political inevitability. The upside, of course, is that we have two chances to celebrate significant anniversaries or birthdays – with the rest of Canada and then on our own a little later.
Being small, stubborn and somewhat independent does have its privileges and benefits. We were able to throw big parties in 1964, 1967 and 1973. And then in 2014, and again this year. In six years, we can party again.
Of course, between now and 2023, there are two other Canada Games cycles to worry about - Red Deer, Alta. hosts the Winter Games in 2019 and the Niagara Region of Ontario is home for the next summer cycle in 2021.
P.E.I. is deep into finalizing a bid package for 2023 and faces no opposition. Our return to the hosting spotlight might seem like a long ways off, but it’s not. Six years will fly by. There isn’t a lot of time to finalize the host bid, construct facilities, put together a host committee and then identify, select and train our athletes.
Being back on the Games hosting radar could work in two ways. The province’s attention and focus could be directed on 2023’s preparations - where the pressure will be great to perform well. Such a scenario would impact negatively on our contingents to Red Deer and Niagara.
Or, the P.E.I. Canada Games committee will work even harder to see our athletes perform well over the next two Games cycles to peak at just the right time in 2023. Successful teams during the next two cycles will send a message that P.E.I. will be strong hosts and that a program of excellence is paying off.
Let’s hope it’s the latter scenario, which will play out.
In Winnipeg, swimmer Alexa McQuaid was our lone medal winner – a silver in the pool. But there were a number of near-podium misses.
P.E.I. has long accepted the stark reality that it will always be David facing Goliaths in the Canada Games. Our athlete pool is limited and when we win a medal, it's a truly remarkable achievement for both athlete and coaching staff. Matching or surpassing personal bests has always been the challenge for our athletes and one really can’t expect much more.
There were many memorable moments in Winnipeg and our athletes and coaching staff deserve hearty congratulations for a fine performance.
Many Islanders hope to see the construction of a new multi sports and entertainment facility for the 2023 Games to replace the redundant Civic Centre. Getting that facility built might rank right up there with any gold medals our athletes might win.