Canada Games turns on heat two years out

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - SPORTS - By Melissa Martin

A spiffy new bulk­head for the Pan Am Pool will be one of many last­ing im­pres­sions the 2017 Canada Games will make on Win­nipeg.

The lo­cal host so­ci­ety an­nounced the im­prove­ment Tues­day, at a swel­ter­ing hot and hu­mid morn­ing news con­fer­ence at the 48-year-old fa­cil­ity. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment also turned out for the Games’ first ma­jor an­nounce­ment.

“If you’re tak­ing pic­tures of any of us up here, and we look a lit­tle wet, you can just say we were in the pool for train­ing,” Win­nipeg Mayor Brian Bow­man quipped.

Hey, at least the heat was on-theme. Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment, timed to take place ex­actly two years be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony, also served to re­veal the 2017 Canada Games’ of­fi­cial slo­gan: “The Hottest Sum­mer in Half a Cen­tury.” It is a nod to what will be the event’s 50th an­niver­sary — and the con­cept of heat is a ma­jor part of the Canada Games im­agery that will splash across Win­nipeg.

The brand­ing, de­signed by lo­cal firm McKim Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Group, was inspired by the swoop­ing shapes seen in heat maps and weather radar — forms de­sign­ers also see re­flected in in­dige­nous art and the to­pog­ra­phy of Win­nipeg it­self. So Canada Games brand­ing be­came a heat-seek­ing mis­sion.

“De­spite the fact we’re na­tion­ally renowned for be­ing cold, we all know our sum­mers are hot,” McKim CEO Peter Ge­orge said. “Heat goes hand in hand with the idea of pas­sion, sweat, ex­er­tion and ex­hil­a­ra­tion. So in cre­at­ing this brand... we had to ask our­selves, ‘What does heat ac­tu­ally look like?’ ”

As the next 24 months pass, Win­nipeg­gers will find out more about what kind of changes are in store for the city. While the Pan Am Pool bulk­head was the only new com­mit­ment made Tues­day, 2017 Canada Games di­rec­tor Jeff Hnatiuk said all of the 20-plus venues uti­lized at the Games will get some sort of boost.

“Each one of those venues will have some form of an up­grade to them,” Hnatiuk said. “Over the next two or three months, we’ll be rolling out some other fa­cil­i­ties that will be re­ceiv­ing ma­jor dol­lar con­tri­bu­tions.”

The cen­tre­piece of the 2017 Canada Games phys­i­cal legacy will be the sec­ond phase of the Sport for Life Cen­tre, which held a sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony last month. Con­struc­tion on the multi-use fa­cil­ity is ex­pected to be­gin in Septem­ber, and be com­pleted by 2017.

The two-week Canada Games are sched­uled to kick off July 28, 2017.

More than 4,000 ath­letes and up to 20,000 visi­tors are ex­pected to con­vene on Win­nipeg, where more than 250 events in 16 dif­fer­ent sport cat­e­gories will be con­tested.

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