The 2019 Western Canada Summer Games are officially over after the Games Committee held its final Annual General Meeting last week.
One of the final acts for the organization was to present a framed set of medals to the City of Swift Current. The medals, which were locally designed by Brandon Wiebe, will be displayed at City Hall in the future.
The organizing committee began its intent to bid process in December of 2014.
“It’s remarkable,” said Mayor Denis Perrault. “It’s absolutely incredible. It was a great chance to showcase Swift and the Southwest. I think we were able to build lots of partnerships from it. We had lots of people from all over that came to be a volunteer, to be a sponsor. We were able to meet with a lot of the RMs and towns to encourage them to be a part of it, so it was a great experience.”
“The nice thing is that legacy now continues too through different legacy things that were left to the communities, sporting venues, equipment, legacy development culture activities, so lots of money went back into the community to help future athletes and all that volunteerism and local leaders even,” added Melissa Shaw, Co-Chair of the WCSG.
The Games did finish with a $150,000 profit, which was donated back into communities and organizations across the Southwest. In an economic impact study prepared for the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games, Tourism Saskatchewan indicated that approximately $5.75 million was spent in the local economy and 35 new jobs were created.
The Games also resulted in three new beach volleyball courts in Riverside Park, the development of the Mountain Cycle course, and upgrades to the tennis courts at Riverside Park.
Perrault pointed out that a city the size of Swift Current bidding on the Games was a real stretch at the time.
“This was something that we were shooting far higher than our city ever had before, not thinking that we had that good of a chance. The fact that we won it was incredible and it’s a testament to Melissa and to her team for the good work that they did on the proposal. The outcome, in my opinion, was it thrived and succeeded in a community smaller than what they’re used to, on a budget far less than it ever had been before, while still being, in my opinion again, very successful.”
With the global pandemic wiping up most large scale events since March, the Games, which were held in August of 2019, now seem like a distant memory.
“I keep thinking if Covid had happened in 2019, with all of the dollars and all of the partnerships and all of the sponsors that had come together to make 2019 happen, it would have been heart-breaking. It is for so many communities across Saskatchewan that are losing some of these events that they’ve already got so much time and effort and money in. I’m so thankful that we were able to pull all of this off in 2019,” said Perrault.
The Mayor was a visible face throughout the Games and has many fond memories.
“Personally, it was calling basketball and calling volleyball, something I had never done before and got a quick course, about 11 minutes I guess, got me ready. That was a personal real benefit. I had so much fun. I really liked watching the wrestling. That place was just electric and so much fun. I was really thankful I got to all of it with my son and my wife Leah. We had so much fun being volunteers and doing those things.”
Perrault said that Swift Current will continue to look to host large-scale events in the future.