3 provinces, 1 Canada Games — and the planning to make it a 'great time' for all

Aria Loewen from Ontario says the conditions at both ski hills, in P.E.I. and New Brunswick, have been good.  (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)
Aria Loewen from Ontario says the conditions at both ski hills, in P.E.I. and New Brunswick, have been good. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)

While she was initially nervous about competing in New Brunswick instead of P.E.I., Aria Loewen from Ontario says it's been fun.

Some alpine events are being held at Crabbe Mountain near Fredericton and long-track speed skating is taking place at the Emera Oval in Halifax.

Loewen said it was great to be able to take part in the opening ceremonies on P.E.I. and be in the athletes' village there.

Then, all they had to do was get on a motor coach bus and drive five hours.

Shane Fowler/CBC
Shane Fowler/CBC

The only drawback is not having crowds of spectators, said Loewen.

"It's a little sad that we don't get to watch other people, they don't get to watch us. But luckily we have all the other skiers here to support us. "

Talance Kalmakoff from Saskatchewan competed on P.E.I. in the aerials, and is competing at Crabbe Mountain as well.

When she heard she'd be competing in two provinces she thought it was cool that she'd get two for one.

She isn't feeling lonely, because she has her "freestyle family" around.

Shane Fowler/CBC
Shane Fowler/CBC

Meanwhile, at the Emera Oval in Halifax, Carter Bruce is competing for P.E.I. in multiple long-track speed skating events.

Leading up to the Games, he travelled to Halifax on weekends to practice.

He and the other long-track racers were able to spend time at the athletes' village in Charlottetown, and take part in the opening ceremonies.

There's also an athletes' village where they're staying in Halifax.

David Laughlin/CBC
David Laughlin/CBC

"It's a lot smaller of a feeling, there's just 80 of us here. But it's two of us to a room ... instead of 14, so it's a lot more comfortable."

Bruce said it was good to experience the oval prior to competing.

"It's a very windy oval, compared to some other ovals ... the ice is a little bit softer, so it's good to know about that."

The chair of the 2023 Canada Winter Games said hosting Canada Games in two provinces isn't that unusual — but three is.

Laszlo Podor
Laszlo Podor

Wayne Carew said the biggest challenge is making sure athletes have a good experience, no matter where they're staying and competing.

"We wanted to make sure ... the athletes didn't leave until after they participated in the opening ceremonies and it will be the same for the closing ceremonies. They will get here in order to participate in the closing ceremonies," he said.

"We want to make sure that they're well fed and they have good accommodations, which they do in both Halifax and Fredericton."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Carew said a lot depends on the volunteers in the various locations, who he said are trying hard to make sure the athletes are getting the full Canada Games experience. 
"They got a chance to experience the athletes' village and they have a mini athletes' villages over there in both the hotels [in Halifax and Fredericton]," he said.

"It's exciting. The athletes seem to be having a great time, the volunteers are having a great time, and the moms and dads that have come to watch their sons and daughters all seem to be having a great Island experience."

Carew said there has been one day of challenging weather, but they were able to compensate for that knowing the temperatures were going to drop the next day.

In terms of contingencies, Carew said it's all about planning ahead.

Bimal Grewal/Canada Games Council
Bimal Grewal/Canada Games Council

"You know we've stressed from the very beginning that we need to make sure we plan for the worst and hope for the best. And that's really what's happened," he said.

"I feel very confident listening in to the chef de missions' meetings every morning. Their comments are really complimentary and it's great for our staff to hear that feedback."