Thousands of athletes and volunteers are going to get a gigantic send off at the Canada Summer Games closing ceremonies on Sunday afternoon.
The Games have exceeded expectations with massive crowds watching the sports and entertainment.
“There are so many examples of how Winnipeg — and of course Gimli and Kenora which both hosted events, too — the communities have just absolutely embraced these games. The spectator turnout has been incredible,” said Jeff Hnatiuk, president and CEO of the Games.
Early numbers show more than 150,000 people attended events over the two weeks of the games, Hnatiuk said. On top of that about 120,000 people went to the festival site at The Forks.
For the gold medal baseball game alone, where Team Manitoba took a silver, there were about 7,000 spectators.
“Baseball Canada tells us that’s the largest crowd to ever watch an under-17 game in the country,” Hnatiuk said.
Team Manitoba also showed the province’s athletic prowess taking home 42 medals following a win on the volleyball court Saturday night.
“It really gives them their first exposure to what’s called a multi-sport event like an Olympic games where they are in an athlete’s village with athletes from all over the country,” Hnatiuk said.
“It’s a great preparation for them moving forward.”
Seeing four years of preparation come together was special, Hnatiuk said, if not a little exhausting. But Hnatiuk said it’s not time to rest just yet.
The closing ceremonies, titled the Grand Summer Party, will bring athletes, volunteers and spectators back together at Investors Group Field at 2 p.m.
“It’s really an opportunity to send those athletes off in a very positive way. We are also in recognition of how the community has supported these games,” Hnatiuk said.
“We want to end it off with a major party this afternoon definitely,” he added.
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