Episode 1: Canada 2022 Summer Games With Chris Seguin

00:46What is your favourite sports moment?
02:05What are the Summer Games?
04:50When are the games taking place?
05:03Where can I watch?
10:10How can I purchase tickets?
11:45How can I get involved in the Summer Games?
13:50Will the games be streamed live?
15:39What are you most looking forward to during the Games?
21:20How and why was the Niagara Region selected as the host?
24:35Can you provide more details about the daily festivals?
27:10How was the mascot created and what is the importance behind it?
31:40What have been some of the biggest challenges over the last year?
38:06What are some challenges for youth sports?
45:49Closing comments


00:00:01 Kyle Chiki 

Hello everyone, today we have a very special guest joining us on the local Sports Search podcast. Christopher Sagan, manager of media, media and communications for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. 

After digging into Christopher's past experiences working for TSN, Maple Leaf Sports and entertainment and other national sports organizations. 

He's the perfect fit to help tell the story of the Canada Summer Games. He is joining us today to provide more details about the biggest event ever to come to the Niagara region. 

Welcome and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet with us. 

00:00:35 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, no problem Kyle, a pleasure to be here and honored that you would invite me onto your podcast today. 

00:00:41 Kyle Chiki 

Alright, let's kick things off by telling us what is your favorite sports moment you have experienced? 

00:00:46 Chris Seguin 

So I'll I'll go 2 fold as a fan it's the famous everley goal, so I was lucky enough to be sitting for that game 200 level in Ottawa, that's where I'm originally from. Watching can't play Russia thinking to myself for a moment that I bought gold medal tickets to see Sweden, play Russia in the gold medal game and being very angered at the fact that I spent $250 on that. But thankfully Eberle scored and they went into a shootout. 

They beat Russia and the rest was history. They went on to win gold and I was able to witness that gold medal game, but certainly didn't measure to the same sensation. 

That everley brought to the crowd in that game and then working professionally, I would say Bianca Andreescu winning the 2019 Rogers Cup. You know, history was made on the court that day when a Canadian was able to win the Canadian Open for tennis. 

At this event, there hadn't been a male or female who would have won. The event in over 50 years so to be sitting there witnessing history first hand with Bianca was a really special moment and certainly something that pushed me to keep working in comms which is where I am today with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. 

00:01:54 Kyle Chiki 

Wow, those are very exciting sports moments for sure. So we're going to do a bit of a rapid fire question and answer about the Summer Games. 

00:02:05 Kyle Chiki 

What are the Summer Games? 

00:02:07 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, so the Canada Summer Games and the Canada games in general are an event that takes place every two years or they're supposed to take place every two years. But with the pandemic, we had to postpone from 2021 to 2022. But much like the Olympics, they alternate from winter to summer here in can. 

And it's actually the highest level of national competition for thousands of up and coming Canadian athletes. And so the games really are a used as a development for future Olympians, Paralympians Special Olympic or Sport champions that you'll see. 

So we've had alumni that come through the games, such as you know Andre De Grasse, Sidney Crosby, Hayley Wickenheiser, Steve Nash and Kylie Masse who just won a medal yesterday. 

I believe she won a gold medal at the World Championships for swimming and so and the list is endless like. 

I mean, I could spend a whole podcast rounding off names of people that have come through, but ultimately so we featured the next generation of athletes at our event, and so a lot of athletes that people will see this summer in Niagara maybe ones that they actually see in Paris in 2024 or in Italy in 2026 or LA in 2028. 

And just to give another idea of the games themselves, in a lot of ways, it's like the Olympics, it's a multi sport. 

And so in our games are going to have 18 sports and specifically we feature teams from every province in every territory in Canada. So when you watch the Olympics, it's countries that compete against each other for medals at the Canada Games, it's the provinces and territories who can compete against each other for the medal. 

Essentially, Canada's best athletes on display. Yeah, 100% and it's just that next Gen, right? Always that next Gen and so Degrasse is a great example, Kyle. So in 2013 he was in Sherbrooke, won three gold medals at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, QC. 

In 2013, he then, of course famously went on to the Pan Am Games in 2015 did the same thing. And then before he went to Rio 2016 at the Olympics and made history there by netting a bronze medal in the 100 meters, right? 

So there will be athletes that we know that have that trajectory. It happened in 2017. Julia Grosso was a soccer player for team BC and she went on to compete for Team Canada in women soccer in Tokyo, 2020 and end up scoring a gold medal and scoring the most important goal, which was the final goal that was done in the penalty shootout that one can of gold over Sweden at the Olympics and women soccer. 

So there's there's going to be an athlete or two or more that are going to be among the bunch that we see in Paris. 

And there will probably be a whole collection of them that we'll see at future Olympics in the coming years, which is really exciting. 

00:04:46 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, for sure that's exactly I was going to say. It's definitely going to be exciting to see this. 

00:04:50 Kyle Chiki 

So when are they going to be taking place? 

00:04:52 Chris Seguin 

Place yeah, so the Niagara 2022 camps Summer Games are scheduled to take place from August 6th to the 21st of this year. 

00:05:03 Kyle Chiki 

And where can I see? 

00:05:05 Chris Seguin 

 So there are events taking place all over the region, so we have 19 different competition and non competition venues. 

That are hosting events. The one non competition venue for what it's worth is for our closing ceremony, which is Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls on the 21st. But there's a multitude of different facilities that are gonna be hosting events. I think the one that's most prominently featured is the new facility that was built as a result of Niagara hosting the Canada Games. 

Which is kinda games Park and Games Park is in Thorold right at the corner of Merrittville Highway, and Sir Isaac Brock Blvd. Just on the edge of Brock University campus and that facility is going to be hosting 5 sports over the two weeks of the games. 

And then Brock is also hosting, swimming, diving and a cycling event. The criterium so eight sports find their way here to Brock University and I might even be missing one a 9th that I can't think of right now. 

But almost half of what the games are going to be hosting is going to find its way here at Brock University in Canada Games Park, but of course we have events in, you know, Port Colborne and Wainfleet have cycling events. The time trial Pelham has the road race. You know Niagara-on-the-lake has sailing and tennis well and has soccer, volleyball, basketball. Saint Catherines has basketball as well. 

So and rowing for that matter at the Henley. So there's stuff spread out throughout Kyle, and I'd even say they continue on. 

We also say also have a 13 for 13 cultural festival, which is a kind of need initiative. Every kind of games also has a festival or an artistic component to it. It's not just sport. 

And so one thing that our host society is doing is we've paired every one of our municipalities here in Niagara with a province or territory for a festival event. 

And so, for instance, Welland is paired with Quebec for a given night or the Niagara region is paired with Ontario or Wainfleet with Nunavut and basically between August 7th to the 20th every night there'll be an event hosted in a municipality and each of our municipalities over the course of those I guess 14 days where they will host a festival that is representative of the culture of not just their municipality, but more specifically to that province or territory that they're hosting for that given night. 

So like Quebec, QC like Orwell in story, I should specify. 

Of course, there's a rich francophone community in Welland and on top of that, with ehe fact that they're hosting Quebec they will activate in a way that is representative of the province of Quebec, so the goal of that festival, for what it's worth, is to give people an opportunity to experience the country within the Niagara region, over those 14 nights or 13 nights, I guess I should say one or the other. 

00:07:55 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, and so that's something like you mentioned. 

If if you're not a sports fan, you can definitely check out the festivals for for like that entertainment side of it, and it also sounds like no matter where you're located in the Niagara region, there is something for you to go check out and the nice thing is, it's like 20 minutes kind of between cities that you can. 

And if there's a sport that you're really interested in, like I know for myself, I'm interested in seeing the basketball and volleyball for sure so I don't mind making the small trek out. 

00:08:29 Chris Seguin 

See that and for what it's worth, those are great examples of sports that I actually have two sites, right? 

So Meridian and Niagara College are actually hosting basketball. And in Canada Games Park in Akron College are hosting volleyball so that's where you'll find those sports geographically speaking, so there's certainly going to be opportunities for people if they're closer to us. 

The point of venues is to capture things, and I'd be remiss Kyle if I didn't mention two from the festival's perspective. They're actually free, so anybody can walk in. 

There's no tickets attached to the festivals. We also have a festival site at Canada Games Park called Niagara Place, which will be activated from the 7th through the 21st every day and the the sort of scope for what it's worth for that. 

The Festival site is more specifically to I don't mean to say pay homage, but more or less showcase what Niagara has to offer and what the province of Ontario has to offer and so we'll have indigenous and Francophone activations there. 

Ones that are representative of community members that fit within Niagara. 

And so you know, people during the day will be free to come to Niagara Place, 'cause it'll be a daytime gathering hub free of charge to kind of take in some of the activations and and you know the celebrations that are going to be happening at that festival site and then at night from the 7th through the 20th will be the free cultural festival that takes place in each municipality so. Yeah, Needless to say, there'll be no shortage of things for people to be able to do and capture on the sports side or even from the entertainment side. 

And for families you know Niagara place and the 13 for 13 Cultural festival, I think will have things for their kids to kind of also get themselves immersed in and involved in. 

So it should be a really cool experience for anybody taking in any of those events. 

00:10:10 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, 100% agree. Now how would I be able to buy some tickets to see the sports? 

00:10:15 Chris Seguin 

We have tickets available through our website. I believe it's on the top right hand corner of our web page, which is Niagara 2022 games.ca and you click on buy tickets what's there or whatever we have available? We certainly do have a number of tickets available for sports both during the first and second week, because for what it's worth, we do have different sports that are activating on different weeks over the course of the 16 days of the game. So certainly encourage people to check out our website for that. 

00:10:45 Kyle Chiki 

Now if I if I show up to a venue, would I be able to buy tickets? 

00:10:50 Chris Seguin 

On site yeah yeah, of course. So we have box office that are located at I believe will be all if not all venues but there may be some select one specifically. 

If, for what it's worth, there are some events that don't have tickets, so cycling for instance and spectators can just walk up free of charge. 

Golf is another sport where we don't have any spectator seating, so people can just come and watch. 

Sailing since they're out in the middle of the lake, doesn't have spectators that are there or general assigned seating, so there wouldn't be any tickets available for those sports, but where there are tickets, there should be a box office area where people could come in on site on venue and be able to purchase whatever tickets that they wish for that given day.  

There will be same day tickets available and I just want to note though of course that's assuming that there's you know space available and it isn't already sold out.

00:11:45 Kyle Chiki 

How would I get involved in these Summer Games? 

00:11:49 Chris Seguin 

You know one thing about the Canada Summer games is that it's very much a volunteer driven event which in some ways in my mind personally is a very beautiful thing because it means your community has to really, you know, help take ownership of this event and really put on a show for the country and for this national event and so we're fortunate that. 

We've recruited thousands of volunteers already and we need you know, close to if not over 4500 volunteers to deliver the games. 

So I think there are still some some last remaining spots that are available for people that do want to join in and participate as volunteers. 

They would just have to go to our website and there is a volunteer section on our web page that they could join to become a volunteer and register and be able to participate in that. 

00:12:42 Kyle Chiki 

We'll call it initiative like for a business, for example, are they able to donate or sponsor specific events? 

00:12:48 Chris Seguin

Yeah I think there should be for starters, one an ability to donate to the games. I believe that that's something that's actually on our web page as well. 

That people can certainly provide funds if they're interested in supporting the event, along with the fact that we're hoping to the event will create a perception of their donation that would be that not only are they funding or helping to support the games financially, but they're also helping to support the future of the region in terms of what we're hoping to accomplish with this event. 

Additionally, there's certain some business opportunities and again through our website. I would encourage any individual who's seeking to provide support. Of course we're getting close to the event itself, right? 

I think about 5 if not 6 weeks. 

Anyway, I've lost track of my math, but I think today as we speak, it's about 45 days, so certainly would encourage them to to join us sooner rather than later for that reason, but they could certainly go through our website and see how they can communicate with us if they're interested in joining us through be any of those opportunities. 

00:13:50 Kyle Chiki 

Awesome and so last question about the games. 

Is there the ability to watch any of the sports via live stream? 

00:13:59 Chris Seguin 

Yes, so as of right now, I don't think the platform is live, but of course with the short one way I can assure you that it will be soon. 

We're really excited as we've sort of helped to shift a new direction through the Canada Games about trying to have as many competitions. 

It's streamed live this possible so that Canadians can consume the content, and so when we do launch our platform it should be barrier free. It should be accessible to any Canadian, and I think what we're aiming for is to have about 90%, if not more of the competitions that are taking place available for consumption. 

Through live stream and so we will certainly be putting an announcement about the platform by latest end of July about where people can consume it. 

But I'm hoping people will be able to see that as we will do and I'm sure we'll have a very vigorous marketing campaign to make sure people know where to watch. 

But we're really grateful that Niagara College has kind of stepped in to help us deliver this being led by Peter Dutch Vandenberg. 

Who is the Coordinator of the Broadcast television, radio and film program over at the college, and he's on secondment with us at the Niagara 2022 Kansas number games. 

Uh, we're excited about the the potential of what we're going to create and how people are going to be able to watch a lot of the competitions if they please, through our live stream. 

00:15:24 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, 'cause I would say like we're blessed being in the Niagara region that we get to watch the games live. 

But for all the other Canadians that may not be able to make the trip out there and still support their favorite teams and athletes that way. 

00:15:37 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, yeah 100 percent 

00:15:39 Kyle Chiki

Alright, So what are you most looking forward to during the games? 

00:15:43 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, I mean that's a great question cause it is a giant event. And as I kind of think I've already described, there's so many things happening. 

I think one thing for sure I'm excited about is the return of lacrosse to the Canada games. Last time lacrosse was seen at this event was 1985 in St. John, NB so Lacrosse hasn't been part of the program, even though it's our national summer sport and we certainly recognize the significance it has to our indigenous communities. 

And so we're very excited that we were able to include this sport back into the fold and expand our sport quota so that we could have lacrosse. 

As part of the games, and more excitedly to really is the fact that we're going to have the first ever women's lacrosse competition out of Canada Games. So previous lacrosse competitions have all been men, and so certainly you know that's one thing that over the two weeks that I'm really excited to see get activated is lacrosse in both weeks, which will be also taking place at Cannon Games Park and so also understanding how significant the lacrosse community is here in Niagara. 

A second thing I would say is seeing the rowing take place here and there's no question that Niagara has a very fond heart if you will for rowing. 

Rowing is quite special to this community, and as somebody who didn't necessarily grow up here, it didn't take me long to see the significance that rowing plays among so many community members. 

So we you know, helped through the games, there's a new facility that we've developed. 

It's an off water, it could be a training facility. It also can be an event space is what we've called it right now, The Henley Rowing Center that's just along the water. So I think just to see that competition going on will be really exciting. 

Also, given the fact that in 2024 the World Rowing Championships we'll be coming back to Saint Catherines for the first time since 99, and just understanding that this competition, our event may have in fact helped facilitate, you know the world coming back, and I think that'll be a pretty powerful moment. And then you know, honestly, Kyle, there's so many great athletes stories, and I'm sorry that I have so many answers for these questions 'cause there's so many things that I want to watch. 

But you know, we have, for instance, Jada Lee is a Newfoundland baseball pitcher as an example, so she's a female baseball pitcher playing in what is a male sport. 

because baseball is only offered for men, and so the fact that she'll be the first female baseball player ever in Canada Games history to be competing in this male sport or in this male competition I should say, and that is going to be really exciting. 

Just to see the history that she's going to make by competing at the games. But her story isn't alone, you know I would say Orange Centazzo is an EPL player who plays for the Newfoundland growlers. 

He was just signed by the Marlies recently and and he'll be playing softball for Team Alberta this summer at which is in Grimsby. 

And so you know, there's a story like that to follow and see how he succeeds or how the team does. 

I can even throw out that we found out yesterday that Quebec has medic Doctor who's a golfer who will be coming to compete in the golf competition. You know, five years ago, Quebec won its first ever gold medal in golf. 

Both the men and women, previously British Columbia, always won that competition. 

And Malik sister Celeste was the one who won the individual competition in addition to the team competition as Quebec as a whole 1 gold. 

And so you know, I got a chance to interview Celeste for a story that we did on our website and so to see Malik come in and try and repeat history and they could be the first you know brother and sister duo to do that 

at the very least, in the golf competition, and I wouldn't be shocked if they might be the first to do it in consecutive years in Canada Games history, you know. 

Yeah, there's so many stories I could follow, and obviously some of these are just bearing out now because teams are finally being finalized and we're coming to learn who the athletes are. 

But you know, I'm a huge sports fan and to kind of start to see the next generation of athletes and be able to witness what could be a beginning for them in their story. 

As to where they might end up and that could be in sport that could also be in business or in some other profession. 

It's pretty pretty remarkable to think what kind of pathway these athletes will go. So certainly that as well. 

00:20:02 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, that's giving me something to think about as well from just the volleyball and basketball that I' interested in, I'll have to check out many of the other sports and I think that the most important thing you touched on is seeing the stories develop of the athletes that you mentioned.

See how many of these like fantastic stories come out of the games, and the ones that are already have, like the big hype going into them. 

00:20:30 Chris Seguin 

Yeah 100% yeah. And I think really and it's going to be fun over the next month, although I wish I knew sooner about all of these stories, but you know, we just have national sport organizations now who are telling us who their athletes are and giving us a sense of who the kids are going to be that are going to be coming to compete. 

00:20:49 Kyle Chiki 

For sure. 

00:20:52 Chris Seguin 

I couldn't even tell you today necessarily who those athletes will be, but I guarantee there'll be some really rich stories and the competition itself will be will be great. 

Volleyball is one of the most popular sports at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, and so I wouldn't be surprised if we get the same passion for either of those sports when they're here. 

And I can't wait to discover those new stories that I haven't discovered yet, because I can assure you I will find them. 

00:21:20 Kyle Chiki 

So this year marks only the third time the games have taken place in Ontario. How and why was the Niagara region selected to host the games? 

00:21:28 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, I think there's a multitude of reasons why the the region was selected. I mean, for what it's worth, one my time with the games is came after the bid would have been selected. 

And of course there's been a small group that still exists within our team that would have been there, but I think you could see you know one what the region has to offer Of course we have is a number of venues that have been activated in the past to host national or even international competitions, you know you can think of the flat water center, The Henley is a great example. The Meridian Center is in place, so from an infrastructure perspective there is certainly the capacity to be able to host an event of this magnitude which is Canada's largest multi sport event. So I think for starters, having the foundation there was important. I think also, you know one thing that's been told to me again, as somebody who didn't grow up here in Niagara is the significance of having all 13 municipalities come together. So when I say that I'm referencing, there's the regional municipality of Niagara, of course, and then the 12 local area municipalities that encompass that a regional municipality, and so I think for them to come together, be all in support of the bid. 

It only made the bid stronger because of the fact that we can activate with on all these areas like the 13 for 13 cultural festival can be a thing because we have all our municipalities flying, and so I think the strength of the fact that we had A large group of municipalities. We had the infrastructure and I think it doesn't hurt geographically where we're located, right? 

We have the falls that are nearby, and Niagara is known for its hospitality because it is a tourism destination. 

Whether it's the falls, whether it's Niagara-on-the-lake, I mean we can push into Welland and Pelham and other areas that are just as beautiful. 

I would say in some senses as those other areas certainly helps and I think also you know, again, we're close to some really populated places. The significant population, if you will up above, in the Golden Horseshoe area, whether that's Hamilton. 

Whether that's Toronto, so I think just the opportunity that Niagara can leverage not only for itself, and I think that's been seen with some of the new facilities and the infrastructure improvements that have been developed, but through the capacity we can generate. 

From spectators or people coming to consume the games, I think certainly made it a very attractive bid that I would think would have made it difficult to avoid. 

But yeah, either way, it's really exciting that, for instance, that all those municipalities came in together. I think that having the team of 13 I think is. Maybe one of the biggest reasons why the bid was successful, truthfully. 

00:24:03 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, that's exciting. 

And as a lifelong resident of Welland like this is just so exciting to to have these games and once it was announced that the Niagara region was hosting it, I think it definitely kind of got everybody excited and fired up too. 

To see these games as it is happening as a resident again, I'm happy that the region was able to win this bid and it's going to be a great time. 

00:24:32 Chris Seguin 

100 percent. 

00:24:35 Kyle Chiki 

So not only will there be tons of sports to watch during the games, there's also a daily festival that you've already touched on at the Niagara Place or called the Niagara Place that will spotlight the culture and history of the Niagara region. 

Can you provide a little bit more details? 

00:24:50 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, so again so Niagara Place will be. It will be hosted at the game's park in the parking lot that's there. 

If you drive by it you would see the lot just I guess that's north of where the building is, which is the Walker sports and Ability Center. 

And so basically, yeah, like I think as I kind of hinted before it will be a football field size type of venue again free of charge, so any patrons or any guests can come in without having to pay for a ticket, and so visitors will be able to take in live performances from local artists, artistic exhibits, and elements of the region's culinary scene.

I mean, think of it, I don't want to call it a carnival is not maybe the best way. I do think of a festival or sort of what you see with the music festival is an app description, but I think you'll also have because of all the activations that'll be able to take place, i think the carnival idea is where people can go in and take in. 

Some of these very specific activations, while music might be playing while there might be live performances or something taking place on the mainstage and I believe also they're supposed to be, whether it's live clips of the games coming in through a television monitor or a big screen that we'll have established so people can also watch. 

Some of the events live from there, so I think it just be a very lively active area Kyle, and for sure there's an emphasis on Niagara and Dagger places. 

An opportunity for, you know, for us to really showcase to the country and anybody visiting what Dagger has to offer in a multitude of different ways, especially on the artistic and on the culinary side. And so It would be really exciting and I think place that yeah is surely to be very active. 

I would think every day, especially given how much will be taking place at Canada Games Park and how much will be taking place at Brock University, which are directly adjacent to where it's located. 

00:26:45 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, and Niagara, I would say they're they're known for like hosting several festivals throughout the year, so it's it's not something new. 

The municipalities are experiencing that there's been a lot of very popular festivals over the time and that it should be fun for sure. 

00:27:07 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, 100 percent. 

00:27:10 Kyle Chiki 

So there is a mascot relating to the Canada Summer Games. Shelly the turtle. 

I've seen it on your social media channels having fun in promoting the games. How was the mascot created and what is the importance behind it? 

00:27:25 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, so we had a contest that went through. I think originally we did select and go through a process where we wanted to identify what our mascot was going to be and I'm sure there were. 

I can't say I was around for those internal discussions, but of course we landed on a turtle in terms of the aesthetic and look of the turtle. 

That was something that we went through a contest where actually kids submitted designs. For the mascot itself, and we ended up picking a recipient. 

There's so many things with Shelly that make it great. 

From the turtle side, I'm probably going to miss something because as I go into explaining all the different things that Shelly is representative of from our games perspective. But I know, you know, there's a huge indigenous component first and foremost. 

You know, I think they say that North America is Turtle Island and at the heart of Taro Island is Anagrus Cartman. 

So a big part with the symbolism of Turtle Island, the heart being the escarpment, are turtle. Certainly something that heavily weighed into the decision that we made additionally. 

It's my understanding there are 13 large sections in a turtle which could be representative of a few things. One, we have 13 provinces and territories in Canada we have 13 municipalities here in Niagara. 

Yeah, we also you know when you look at the own Anishinaabe the original people of Niagara, they abide by the lunar calendar and so there's 13 different cycles within a lunar calendar. And then there's also 28 small sections within a turtle. And I mean, I believe certainly we are the 28th edition of the Canada Games, so again, funny coincidence when selecting our mascot, but that's certainly representative of the fact that we are servicing what is the 28th time that the Canada Games have been hosted? And I believe there's also 28 days in a lunar cycle. Coming back to the initial Bay and the Haudenosaunee and the original peoples of Niagara. So there's so many from an indigenous lens for sure there was significance and, we also had many other things that we could sort of pull in as to why the turtle was selected. 

And also I mean in Ontario you know we have conservation efforts that we've undertaken through our sustainability initiatives relating to turtles. 

So we've been working with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center and specifically, there are a number of endangered species here in Ontario that are turtles, and so we've actually also taken upon ourselves to try and provide visibility and awareness to that very fact and try to support where we can with either raising funds or providing various initiatives that can bring awareness to that issue. 

00:30:22 Kyle Chiki 

It's definitely amazing to hear how the organization was able to connect all those like small dots. Yeah, the details, yeah, but just from knowing more about this, is it going to be anytime you see Shelly out in the games?

00:30:42 Chris Seguin 

Yeah and we have a whole video where I think it explains it better than probably I just did, but it's kind of wild like to be honest. 

00:30:46 Kyle Chiki 

Oh OK. 

00:30:49 Chris Seguin 

Just how fitting the turtle was as a mascot for these games for so many reasons As you said, right? And it's almost him, yeah, I mean, I guess you could say in some ways we lucked in with the selection. But of course there was meaning behind that selection in itself, so. 

00:31:05 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, and it's it's crazy to think that it came from like a contest - like through kids. 

00:31:11 Chris Seguin 

Well, the look of it for sure. I think the turtle with thought for what it's worth, I think as a host society and then the kids were asked to sort of OK make one! And we've selected a turtle. 

We told them you tell us what our mascot should look like through a testing where they would dry out an image of the turtle. so one kid's design was the one that was selected, and like I said, I think they were announced at the hometown hockey in Welland. 

And so yeah, the look of it comes from a Community member here, a kid, so it's pretty exciting. 

00:31:40 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah for sure. So if I'm not mistaken, the Summer Games were actually supposed to run in 2021 and they were pushed back through the pandemic. 

What has been some of the biggest challenges over the last year to get where you are now? I know Opening day is set and the games will begin 45 days from now. 

00:32:01 Chris Seguin 

I think you know, of course, we've been monitoring everything as it relates to the pandemic and what's been taking place. 

I don't know that we've had too many significant challenges. Of course we had an additional runway. 

We had additional time to plan, and although with that additional runway gave us more time to think about how we want to put things together for the games come, you know, we certainly even like I can think on the marketing side and com side you know, had to get creative with some of our events and some of our marketing initiatives because we couldn't be out in the community, 

You know the torch relay, which will begin June 25 here in the Niagara region, specifically with Thorold. That is, the first municipal leg, yes, it came on a boat on June 17th from Montreal. It will be one of the first times really. 

In addition to that and the concert we had in April that we can really connect with our community members and bring an event that really allows them to participate in the celebrations of the games. 

So I think for a while it was just hard for us to want to connect. 

With the community here in Niagara, find creative ways and we had to do so obviously in a lot of different manners, virtually for us to bring our teams together and you know, similar to we have a lot of volunteers. 

As I mentioned, Kyle and 400 of them are leadership volunteers, which means that they're basically helping us plan the games, and they're with us already. And they've been with some of us that some of them have been with us for over three years. 

And so they have to attend regular monthly meetings as part of their leadership role with the games or the volunteer to help US plan out the event. 

And so it's been difficult as we've been hosting meetings over Google meet, or maybe some meetings over zoom, and so you know, being able to work collaboratively as a team from a distance as a whole had its challenges, but I think we had a very resilient group. 

Whether it was our staff, whether was our volunteers that were able to overcome that, and even from the Community perspective, we certainly did a lot of, you know we had some at sustainability summits, for instance, that we held in conjunction with the college that were done. 

Virtually, you know, we held you know webinars through the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce about volunteerism with the games and how to volunteer. 

And that was also done virtually, so we certainly did what we could to engage our community members virtually. But it had its challenges I think that was the biggest thing I think you know. The planning aside and everything else, I think as a team. 

I don't mean to say that nothing feels too different, of course we have to be prepared for what could happen at games time, but I think you know it's not like that Logistic threw a complete wrench in what we were doing. 

We just we've adjusted like the rest of the world has as it pertains to the pandemic. 

With that said, I think you know, we feel really confident about everything and being fully prepared to go for opening ceremony and we're just excited. 

I think 'cause in the world we're living now in 2022, it's a very different world than what it was just a year ago, so. You know the decision to postpone although it was difficult in my opinion, was clearly the right one to make. 

As we can see today, we can actually come together and have events in person. Whereas a year ago that would not have been possible given the circumstances we were living in. 

00:35:14 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, I think I agree 100% there and from somebody who has been waiting to see the games. 

It was frustrating to know like it was pushed back, but at the same time it made sense and I think the frustration just came from being in the lockdown like all sports were kind of put to a stop and then the Summer Games may have given us like that kind of hope of something to go and enjoy. 

But then at the same time we were in the middle of lockdown so there could have been the chance that we go back into one and then. 

But I think that would have caused a big issue of games being like postponed or whatever, so yeah, it's definitely worth the wait. 

I agree that you said that we're in a different world right now than we were last year and sports have started to open up again and people enjoying it playing it, watching them so. 

00:36:11 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, well, I think that's part of the reason why we're excited for this event is we see it as a, you know, a way to bring the country back together after the, you know the difficult couple of years that we've had through the pandemic. 

And we know that a lot of youth ultimately, you know, maybe this will return to support for them. Some of them have, and we know that they were eager to come to the games and compete like I know I mentioned an athlete name and Malik Dow. 

I know having talked to his sister I believe it was in the pandemic that he was somebody who is eager to mark this event to come and you know, in the back of my mind I don't know like personally so I can't speak to what and if he was always going to come whether we postponed or not, but you never know with an athlete like that if even having the games postponed by a year, whether they're coming so for me, one excited to hear that he's going to be here as an athlete competing in golf and I'm sure there are thousands of others that are in the same boat who think. 

Actually, the eligibility for the athletes was expanded by year so that anybody, for the most part that was eligible to compete at the games in 2021, was now eligible to compete for the games that had their new 2022 dates. 

I mean, we're excited for certainly with the celebration that I think this will bring Canadians back together. 

Bring Niagara back together ans also allow youth to compete in an event and return to sport in maybe ways that they haven't experienced yet. 

Because I think really this might be the biggest sporting competition that we have in the country since the pandemic will have taken place like it's not to diminish you know the least hosting a playoff game or you know the Raptors. 

 But I mean you think about the size and scope of this, we're activating 19 venues over 16 days across the Niagara region with festival sites every night that's not included in that 19 figure. 

For what it's worth, and Niagara place so the scope and size of this is probably the biggest event we have since since the pandemic will have taken place. 

00:38:06 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, and it's interesting you mentioned about the youth getting back into sports. 

Which leads into one of my last questions here. I'm waiting on the 2021 census data to be released about the sporting behavior, but in 2016, 

did you know only 27% of Canadians aged 15 and older actively participated in sports during the year? The survey took place now in my opinion I think that I feel that is very low. 

I'm sure all of the Summer Games athletes started participating in sports at a young age and probably participated in more than one sport. 

What do you think the challenges are for youth sports and do you have any recommendations on how to increase interest in sports? 

00:40:07 Chris Seguin

Yeah, it's a great question. You know, I think access to sport is certainly likely the barrier, right? 

How readily accessible is it to to family members and to and the kids at the end of the day is certainly a parameter that might either prohibit or welcome athlete participation and that barrier could be a multitude of different things. 

From the costs that gets associated with it, or a variety of other things. 

Maybe it's the distance travel that's required for them to participate in a particular sport, or where that's located, and so certainly think any way that you can limit whatever barriers are in play for families to have their children participate in sport is certainly one of the biggest things  I know. You know relative to our event I think we see it as a way to inspire, you know, young kids within the region, for instance. 

And also you know the games have been leveraging ways to help improve infrastructure here and hopefully help promote more sport programming. 

Right, so can again sparks a great example where. You know all of a sudden we have two new ice rinks or ice boxes 'cause we also host lacrosse there and you know you have a gymnasium that can host basketball volleyball para sport programming. 

Sledge hockey can take place in those two rings that I mentioned, so I think you know also for us to have the infrastructure available to help welcome kids to participate certainly goes a long way, I think to help and contribute to their participation, I mean, we're I think I'm excited to see you again. 

As somebody who didn't grow up here in Niagara what the games will mean from a legacy perspective because I think the sport, the athletes, their stories, the performances in my mind will inspire a whole generation of athletes that are going to come from out of Niagara. 

And you know, if I could leave you with something Kyle I know, maybe not directly related to your question, but you know one thing that I've noticed. Is the games really do help promote athletes locally within those communities that host the Canada Games to go on to be successes, and the one example I always bring is London 2001, which in the last Tokyo Olympics. If you're watching, there were two athletes to me that were above and beyond.

You know who were readily identified as the biggest success stories of those games, and that was Damian Warner, who won gold in decathlon. 

He comes from London and he used to train at the TD Waterhouse Stadium that they have out there by Western University, which was a legacy of the 2001 Canada Summer Games in London. ON the last time the games were in Ontario, another legacy was the Canada Games aquatic Center, which is where Maggie McNeill would swim and when she joined the London Aquatics Women Club. 

So again those legacies and infrastructure helped to create parameters that allowed Damian, in my opinion as well as Maggie McNeill to be the successes that they became. 

Of course they they worked incredibly hard. They had great coaching I'm sure, and other things that worked in their favor but as kids they would have had those amenities established. 

The infrastructure was there to promote their development, and so I'm hoping that the games will establish the same thing for Niagara athletes. 

Because I like I said I'm excited whether it's you know in Paris, maybe it's Italy in 2026. Maybe it's you know 2028 in LA or maybe if Vancouver wins the bid in 20-30, it'll be there. 

But I do think that there'll be athletes that come from this area that will benefit from that infrastructure, and hopefully that's also as a result of promoting sport participation at these various areas and hopefully the games can inspire more of these kids if they weren't already interested in sport and joining up. 

Maybe if they see it, they'll believe that they can do it themselves, and they'll strive to do that because  I certainly think the games that I think that's one of the most amazing things that we've developed as a plan and as a host society is, I think we're we've really pushed hard to leave Niagara in a better place than we left it. 

And I'm very confident that the games will accomplish that, and I could say that today, and I can say that on August 21st, when the games wrap up so I'm certainly excited to see how Niagara as a whole will benefit for the next decade plus because of the fact that it got to be host for this event. 

00:43:04 Kyle Chiki 

And you touched on it too, is the inspiration that I think seeing these these professional athletes live in action, we do have some semi professional sports in Niagara that our youth are able to check out with. 

Like the Welland, Jackfish Baseball, Niagara Ice Dogs hockey and the Niagara River Lions with basketball, but nothing against those athletes. 

I feel like the Summer Games is just it's a whole another level of competition and getting the youth out to to see how hard these athletes have trained and what they're working for I think that's going to help inspire people to just want to play and the different sports right where the Summer Games were getting a variety of sports that we are not used to seeing day in day out here. 

00:43:52 Chris Seguin 

Yeah, yeah, I think the exposure like that plays such a huge role, right? 

Is being exposed to sport in this capacity, I mean, we often you know we see on television, unless we're watching the Olympics, but you know, you see basketball, hockey, baseball, some of these more mainstream sports. 

You know, I feel like sports like like diving like unless it's the Olympics you might not be and I might not be watching that or same as swimming. Even though the FINA World Championships are taking place for swimming right now, that might not be a sport that enough people are capturing or seeing. 

And even from the Paris side, I think you know one thing that's really unique also with these games is we're very inclusive in what we have so we have on top of competitions for able bodied athletes. 

We have competitions for athletes with physical and mental disabilities that are also so encompassed within these games. I think they give people exposure to those pair competitions whether it's at and special Olympic competitions that athletics and swimming will be a really cool thing that also people will be able to see and maybe again we're inspiring a generation of parasport or Special Olympians who didn't otherwise think that some of these things were possible until being exposed to it here in Niagara. 

And so yeah, I mean like the visibility you said will be will be profound. 

I think in what this group will see and a lot of the athletes Kyle 100% to skew younger and I think there are times when young athletes can resonate with kids in ways that as we get older, can't do and accomplish the same thing because I think they they can physically more see themselves represent. 

And in some of the athletes that we'll see competing this summer, then maybe some of the older athletes that they watch professionally in other sports. 

And so my hope is that might even further inspire them. 

00:45:37 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, well, it's definitely going to be exciting and I feel like I could just talk about this like all day, but we we will be mindful of your time and are there any closing comments you would like to? 

00:45:49 Chris Seguin 

Mention I mean just check out the website for this group. I really recommend it again. That's Niagarasummer2022 games.ca. 

We have information on the sports we're hosting on the venues that are hosting the schedule is there.That's where you can buy and it's that's where you can also get involved as a volunteer. 

Or if you want to support financially and give a you know a few dollars to the games that's also where you donate. 

So certainly will recommend people to check that out and keep an eye on all our social media feeds. 

You know whether it be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedInand Twitter I almost forgot that last one, so we obviously activate a lot in terms of communication and we're going to be starting our torch relay again. Our first municipal leg of our land program starts on June 25 and four and then every weekend between now and games time. 

We will be in a different municipality doing our torch relay and so we certainly welcome people to join us as we sort of get that much closer. 

To the real deal which starts on August 6, so it should be really exciting six weeks. And then obviously the 16 days of the Games will be pretty spectacular. 

00:47:02 Kyle Chiki 

Yeah, for sure and thank you for your  time, so I would say make sure to definitely check out the torch relays in your municipality and to definitely clear your schedule in August because you will not want to miss out on the excitement the Canada Summer Games will bring to Niagara. 

We will be putting more information about the Summer Games in the notes of this episode including contact details and links to purchase tickets. 

Chris, thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge with us today. Our mission is to help promote local sports, including events like this. 

So we have added listings about the venues in Niagara and which sports they will be hosting on localsportssearch.ca to help people experience the Canada Summer Games. See you next time and remember the best part of the game is the opportunity to play. 


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