Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


One of the remarkable legacies of the Canada Games are the many local volunteers who continue to enrich host communities long after the competition ends. Typically four years of planning goes into organizing the Canada Games, requiring thousands of local volunteers working together to achieve shared goals. This promotes co-operation, encourages greater participation in community life and teaches volunteers valuable skills that are transferable to other cultural and economic activities.

Staging the Canada Games often requires a large proportion of local residents to volunteer in some capacity, weaving the event into the social and cultural fabric of host communities. One out of every nine residents helped organize the 1979 Canada Winter Games in Brandon, Manitoba, helping visitors to feel immediately at home. To host the Games in 1981 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, volunteers from local schools and service clubs sewed costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies, raffled handmade quilts, conducted Walkathons, and held lotteries to raise funds. Such heartfelt, handmade efforts consistently personalized the Canada Games with unique warmth and a welcoming, neighbourly spirit.

Volunteers have shown tremendous dedication, fellowship and co-operation when confronted with adversity. Local residents formed committees to pick weeds and rocks and donated Christmas trees to landscape manmade Mount Blackstrap for the 1971 Canada Winter Games in Saskatoon, and readily rolled up their sleeves to reclaim sites for Canada Summer Games events when storms devastated Brandon, Manitoba in 1997. Simply put, the enthusiastic grassroots support of volunteers made hosting the Canada Games a more vibrant, shared achievement with an enduring human legacy.

Photograph of figure skating judges at table
Volunteers take on many different roles including that of acting as an official for every sport at the Canada Games. In this image the judges for the figure skating event are recording their scores. The organization of the Canada Games involves recruiting, training and supervising the thousands of volunteers and ensuring that their participation is a rewarding experience to themselves and to the athletes and fans attending the Games.
Collection: Canada Games Council

Photograph of young girl holding medals on tray
The Canada Games could not be staged without the many volunteers recruited by each host city. They perform numerous jobs during the course of a Games, including being part of the medal presentation. Volunteers have registered a high degree of satisfaction in their involvement in the Games and their lasting legacy is a highly trained and motivated work force.
Collection: Canada Games Council

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