Olympics + Alberta games + winter carnival = big fun

The second weekend of the four-week Canmore Winter Carnival offered plenty of family-fun entertainment for the community and visitors.

From Jan. 31st to Feb. 23rd, the Canmore Civic Centre plaza transformed into an athlete’s village featuring food vendors, dog-sledding, ice carving and a big screen TV broadcasting of the Olympic Games.

“This weekend is really the big weekend of the entire Winter Carnival, with the dog sledding and the Olympics going on, we’ve also crammed in the 2014 Alberta Winter games all in the same weekend. There’s plenty of activities for people of all ages,” said Andrew Nickerson, Canmore’s Business and Tourism president.

This years carnival coincided with the Olympics and Canmore pulled triple-duty last weekend hosting the 2014 Alberta Winter Games, which brought over 2,600 athletes, coaches and staff to participate in more than 20 events.

At the same time as the Winter Games, more than 100 kids between eight and twelve years of age participated in the annual Kid ‘n’ Mutt dog sled races held by Snowy Owl Dog Sled Tours, a Canmore-based dog sled company with 30 years of experience.

“The dog sledding has become a big part of the carnival. Local kids get to compete against their schoolmates, and the tourists get a chance to come compete against the community,” said Marc Marceille, a Snowy Owl employee who has been working the Kid ‘n’ Mutt races for the past five years.

“I thought it was so much fun, I am going to try to win first next year,” said nine-year-old Benjamin Bratt at the finish line. He came in, in second place to one of his classmates, Julia Reynolds.

Residents and visitors can once again enjoy the luxury of cross-country skiing along Main Street during the carnival, as a four-block section of the street gets covered in 850 cubic meters of snow.

“The Snow Tracks have become a yearly thing, and we try to align it with major events like the Winter Games,” said Nickerson.

“There’s nothing cooler than cross-country skiing past the shops on Main Street. It really helps bring tourists out to experience the festivities and watch these amazing events.”

This year’s carnival got off to a slippery start.

Fourteen hours before the opening reception, at 3 a.m. a water main burst in a Town Hall building, flooding the main floor of the Civic Centre and spilling out on to the streets creating a river of ice.

The flood also damaged offices of the 2014 Winter Games forcing them to shut down for two days while repairs were made. The Winter Games got under way a week later without a problem.

“Next year we won’t have the added benefit of the Olympic Games to help attract visitors, but even just with the Alberta Winter Games and the dog sledding, participants will still have more events and activities than they know what to do with,” said Nickerson.

About Daniel Mantai 9 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Daniel Mantai worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2013-2014 academic year.