First year of Provincial Games
Alberta – 1980 Saskatchewan& B.C. – 1988 Nova Scotia 2005
Manitoba – 1983 New Brunswick- 1993
Ontario – 1986 P E I & Yukon – 1998
NWT does not hold territorial games. First involvement in the national games was in Medicine Hat in 1998. 1 participant.
1996 – Regina , Saskatchewan
1998 – Medicine Hat, Alberta
2002 – Summerside, Prince Edward Island
2004 – Whitehorse, Yukon
2006 – Portage la Prairie Manitoba
2008 – Dieppe, New Brunswick
2010 – Brockville, Ontario
2012 – Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
2014 – Strathacona County, Alberta
2016 – Brampton, Ontario
During the years 1977, 1978, and 1979 a group of Alberta seniors traveled the province at their own expense to promote the concept of Senior Games to existing clubs and drop-in centers. These dedicated seniors talked to any and all who would listen, including senior members of the Alberta Government.
In January 1980 the Alberta Senior Citizens Sport and Recreation Association was formed and in August of 1980 the first Alberta Senior Games were held at Camrose Alberta. The games were held for seniors 55 years of age + and involved over 15,000 seniors at the “grass roots” playoff level to yield the 750 participants in the first ever Provincial Senior Games. These first games were so successful and so impressed the then Premier Peter Lougheed and his ministers that the then Minister of Recreation and Parks authorized the holding of regular Senior Games in Alberta every second year. During the next couple of years one other province as well as several States of the USA, upon hearing of the successful Alberta Senior Games, decided to organize senior games patterned after the Alberta concept. Today almost all provinces and territories in Canada, as well as many states of the USA, conduct senior games. The USA now also has National Senior Games, which were held this year at Baton Rouge Louisiana.
National and Provincial/Territorial Level Games offer up to 20 activities of varying activity levels from active games such as golf, tennis swimming and track & field to medium level activity such as ice and floor curling, horseshoes, pool and more passive pursuits such as card games. A cultural component featuring old time fiddling, dancing, woodworking, tinsmithing, blanket making and weaving may also be included depending on the decision of the Host Committee.
Social Aspects of the Games
Over the three days of the games coffee houses, a dance, barbeque, closing banquet and opening/closing ceremonies featuring local talent are all popular with the participants.
Although by the very nature of games, the goal being to declare winners, winning is de-emphasized. The coming together for the game is most important.
Participants travel by bus, car, RV’s and air to participate. In provinces or territories where competition begins at the local level then winners progress to district then regional competition, reaching the provincial/territorial games becomes an exciting prospect and valued achievement.
It is not uncommon to have many thousands begin at the local or base level. Ontario has over 20,000 participants compete annually with over 1,000 traveling to the provincial games called ACTI-FEST.
Once participants arrive at provincial/territorial or national games they are assisted with expenses such as meals and accommodation. This assistance is in the form of meal vouchers and substantially reduced room rates at area hotels/motels.