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2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax Open

Author: Quotemedia

Published: 2011-02-13

Synopsis and Key Points:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper opens Canada Winter Games in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada.

Main Digest

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially opened the Canada Winter Games in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Friday, highlighting the benefits of sport for all Canadians.

At Canada Games Center, Harper appreciated efforts by coaches, sponsors, organizers and especially athletes, wishing them good luck and a great games.

"I know how hard all of you have worked to get this far. You should be proud of what you've achieved," he added. "We will see you again in Sochi, Russia, 2014."

The Canada Games are a national, multi-sport competition for young Canadian athletes, who represent a total of 10 provinces and three territories in 20 different sports, including sport events for athletes with a disability.

The Games have become a stepping stone for many of Canada's celebrated athletes and Paralympic and Olympic champions, including: Hayley Wickenheiser, Steve Nash, and Sidney Crosby.

First held in Quebec City in the winter of 1967, the Games have taken place every two years in Canada, alternating between the Canada Winter Games and the Canada Summer Games.

Since 1967, over 100,000 athletes and coaches have participated in the Games, which are now Canada's largest multi-sport competition for young athletes.

In all, about 2,700 of Canada' s best and brightest athletes from 800 communities will take part in about 20 sporting events, including freestyle and alpine skiing at two hills north of Halifax, which hosts the Canada Winter Games for the first time from February 11-27.

At the Vancouver Olympics Winter Games last year, 63 per cent of the Canadian athletes who won medals had competed at previous Canada Games.

Canada won a record of 14 gold medals - the most ever by a Winter Olympics host country - including the first Canadian gold medal on home soil.

In the days ahead, Alberta's men's hockey team will be vying for its sixth straight Canada Games medal. The team took home the bronze in 2007 while Ontario nabbed gold.

In women's hockey, Ontario is considered the team to beat as it looks for its fifth consecutive gold medal.

At the Canada Summer Games in Charlottetown in 2009, Ontario took home the flag as the top-scoring province, edging out British Columbia. It's an honor the province has won at 17 of the last 21 Canada Games.

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