Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hello from Halifax!

Change is Imminent
by Michele Walker, SIRC

When a city is awarded the Canada Games, there is no doubt change is imminent.

Businesses stock up on more supplies. Staff get extra hours. Hotels are fully booked at a time of year that most would not be. There are more flights in and out of your city.

Schools change their schedule. In fact, one of the biggest changes affects everyone in the entire region. Moving the school spring break to February and closing schools for an additional week follows the practice for previous Winter Games. The last three provinces and territories to host the games -- New Brunswick (2003), Yukon (2007) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1999) -- moved March break and closed schools in the host region to accommodate the Games. To ensure students in the Halifax region do not lose valuable class time in 2011, the school year started early and will end late going through to June 30, 2011. Christmas break was shortened, and one teacher professional development day had to be rescheduled.

But the most interesting ‘change’ is that of ‘change over’ day in the middle of the Games. Unique to multi-sporting events in the world is the fact that the Canada Games hosts half its sports in Week One and the other half in Week Two. This means that missions staffs have to be moving athletes in and out of the host city twice. Those athletes who enjoyed the Opening Ceremony are not even in town to attend the Closing Ceremony, which is enjoyed by the Week Two sport athletes. The Local Organizing Committee in Halifax has to reset venues for a whole new batch of sports, set up new venues, and not to mention the complete cleaning of the Athlete’s Village top to bottom so it’s as fresh and clean as it can be and ready to host a whole new group of athletes and coaches.

Check out SIRC's Canada Games webpage for more information!

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