May these games be like those games

It was the sweet summer of 1969, two years after the glories of Centennial and Expo ’67 ignited a sense of what our country might become in its second century, but a full year before the October Crisis snuffed out that particular dream-flame.

It was a time—the last?—when Canadians still believed in the possibilities.


I had landed my first journalism job. Still a few courses short of a degree, I signed on as a fulltime reporter at CFDR, Arnie Patterson’s Dartmouth fledgling radio station. Its 5,000-watt signal was so weak it couldn’t be heard in parts of Halifax, but that didn’t matter.

Arnie had a plan to put us on the map.

We would become The Voice of the Canada Games.

It was the first-ever Canada Summer Games, and no one quite knew what to expect.

But Arnie, an inveterate civic booster, decided to go all out. To supplement the station’s lone official vehicle, he slapped CFDR’s logo on the manager’s convertible and my beat-up old VW, hired a bunch of eager young reporters and instructed us to cover all Canada Games all the time.

We did. Paddling on Lake Banook, diving at the new Centennial Pool, shot-putting at the Wanderer’s Grounds, relay racing at Dal… We were there for every event. And, of course, for the post-event partying, celebrating or commiserating at the official hospitality events, followed by deep-into-the-night-until-dawn at after-hours clubs like the Arrows or at impromptu parties in Point Pleasant Park. There were even a few fleeting romances with athletes we would hear about later at the Olympics.

It was a time.

And now, 42 years later, the Canada Games—Winter Edition—is back.

Much has changed since those first Games, not all of it for the better.

But I like to think that the still relatively modest Canada Games—unlike their too-expensive, too-hyped Commonwealth cousins, or, God forbid, the Olympic dreams some harbour—represents the perfect kind of ambitiousness for Nova Scotia.

We can be part of these games—as volunteers, as spectators, as citizens—in ways those other events have become too grand to accommodate.

So let the Games—and the fun—begin!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *