The Canada Games are over — but they left a legacy of infrastructure

Short-track speed skating events were held at the new Eliyahu Wellness Centre.  (Nancy Russell/CBC  - image credit)
Short-track speed skating events were held at the new Eliyahu Wellness Centre. (Nancy Russell/CBC - image credit)

The 2023 Canada Games have ended. But some Islanders say the sporting event will continue to have a positive impact on the province for years to come.

The Games' closing ceremony was held Sunday night, and athletes from away will journey home Monday.

The two-week event saw the arrival of thousands of visitors, and the Island had to build new infrastructure to be able to host them

That infrastructure will still be in use on the Island, organizers say. It includes a $63-million residence in UPEI. a $10-million Olympic-size skating rink in North Rustico, and a $5-million multi-purpose dome.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

"That's the bricks and mortar legacy. But there's a lot of human legacy that we leave, with those volunteers that will remember for their lifetime doing the Canada Games," said Canada Games host society chair Wayne Carew.

"It's a legacy that allows the communities to say, yeah, we can host these events because we know that we have the horsepower to do it."

Carew said organizers prioritized spending resources on facilities that would continue to be enjoyed after the Games.

They had considered building a long-track speed skating oval on P.E.I., but they reconsidered because they would've spent $2 million on facilities that were temporary. That event was held in Halifax instead.

Organizers said there's a sports infrastructure deficit across Canada and the Games help influence more development.

Carew said over the years the Games have helped to build infrastructure across Canada that's worth billions of dollars. The Eastlink Centre and Credit Union Place are some of the legacy infrastructure projects from previous times P.E.I. has been a host.

'It just screams sport'

Wayne Thibodeau/CBC
Wayne Thibodeau/CBC

J.P. Desrosiers, deputy chief administrative officer for the City of Summerside, says the new multi-purpose dome in Summerside was needed to host the Games, and that there's demand in the community for year-round recreational facilities, particularly as the city's population continues to grow.

Some of the events the dome hosted include karate and boxing.

"The space is massive, that's really the only way to describe it," he said.

"It's 60,000 square feet of open play space. So it kind of opens the doors to pretty much anything from a hosting standpoint. It's very bright and [has an] open-air feeling, and it just screams sport."

Desrosiers said rental income will be enough to make operating the dome net-neutral for the city.

"There'll be lots of kind of followups following the Games," he said. "But a lot of excitement. Great to see the tourism impact at this time of year. Great to see the legacy projects."

'We couldn't have done that'


The Montague Curling Club got some money for maintenance of its facility, including adding new insulation and installing plywood walls on its ice shed.

The work cost about $265,000.

Manager Larry Richards says that will hopefully help extend their season.

"We could add another five, six weeks.... It does help the bottom line," he said.

"We are one of the better clubs here financially on the Island. But no, we couldn't have done that, all this work [without the Games]."