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  • Tuesday Talk - Edmonton Eyes 2022 Commonwealth Games


    (ATR) Intergovernmental & External Affairs Executive Director Candice Stasynec tells Around the Rings "event hosting got embedded into who Edmonton is and what we value" with the 1978 Commonwealth Games.
    Candice Stasynec is a regular at the SportAccord Convention.

    In this wide-ranging interview conducted ahead of the 2013 SportAccord Convention, she also touches upon possible bids for the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, future youth or junior world championships in athletics and more.

    Around the Rings: What role is Edmonton playing with regard to the 2013 SportAccord Convention in St. Petersburg, Russia?

    Candice Stasynec: We are a silver sponsor with an exhibit stand, and we’ll be the sponsor of the Sport Demo Zone.

    ATR: What will your exhibit in St. Petersburg entail?

    CS: The focus will be on basically upcoming events. Our whole reason for being at SportAccord is to raise the awareness of our city as a potential host city for events, and in this case for sporting events. So that’s what takes us to SportAccord.

    I attended the first SportAccord, and I think I’ve missed one along the way. We find that it’s been a really important opportunity for positioning and for networking, of course.

    ATR: I know Edmonton hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1978 and is a regular host of curling events, but what else has the city staged over the years?

    Edmonton is a frequent stop for the ITU World Triathlon Series and will stage the 2014 Grand Final. (Getty Images)
    CS: We’ve been staging a whole variety of events from athletics to triathlon to baseball, soccer, cycling, rugby, skating. So for example, in 2013, we’re hosting, of course, a curling event, the Brier, in March; we’ve been building an athletics competition called the Edmonton International Track Classic; we have been and will be the host of triathlon’s ITU World Cup. We were just awarded the Grand Final in 2014.

    We’re hosting the Canadian Women’s Open Golf Championships this summer. This year will be the inaugural event of the Tour of Alberta, a six-day cycling race that will start in Edmonton.

    So we pursue and have hosted a variety of events.

    We’ve hosted the Summer Universiade; we’ve hosted the 2001 World Championships in Athletics; we’re a host city for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Last April, we hosted the men’s water polo Olympic qualifying tournament.

    We host a variety of events.

    ATR: Is Edmonton currently bidding for any major events?

    Women's 100m hurdles at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. (Getty Images)
    CS: We are looking at a variety of things. For example, we have been pursuing the 2022 Commonwealth Games. We don’t know about that. We understand our federal government isn’t going to financially support a bid from any Canadian city, but we are still carrying on discussions about “OK, could we bid on that event perhaps with the province and municipal government funding it?”

    We are looking at a major initiative with Canada Basketball that would see Edmonton becoming the home of basketball in Canada, so a national training center. We continue to work on that initiative and are in discussions with our municipal and provincial governments about funding for that. That’s a little bit of a different take on an event. It’s more of a national training center approach with events to follow.

    We are still in pursuit of the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup. There are going to be four Canadian host cities named for that, and we expect that announcement to be made in March.

    We have had discussions about one of the youth or junior world championships in athletics for a later year, maybe 2017 or 2019.

    Those are a couple of things that we are pursuing.

    ATR: In terms of a potential bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, would that reuse a portion of the 1978 venues? What sort of construction would that require?

    CS: The city owns and operates the two principal legacy venues from that experience: Commonwealth Stadium, which is a 60,000-seat outdoor, artificial turf stadium; and our aquatics facility.

    So the city has continued to invest in those facilities and keep them up – constant renovations so they’re both at international standards for events.
    The Kinsmen Sports Center and Aquatics Facility in Edmonton hosted the 1991 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. (Getty Images)

    In the case of a Commonwealth Games bid or a Universiade bid, a multi-sport bid, we would plan to use those facilities and do the minor renovations that might be required. Those facilities have served us really well, and we look to them to continue to serve us well over the next couple of decades.

    Commonwealth Stadium will be the site of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup matches, and the Kinsmen Sports Center and Aquatics Facility was the site of the men’s Olympic qualifying tournament last April. We’ll continue to pursue aquatic events, which are high on our list of potential events.

    ATR: What makes Edmonton such a good host of sports events?

    CS: I guess there’s a bunch of things. Event hosting got embedded into who Edmonton is and what we value early on with the Commonwealth Games. We’ve developed a facility for hosting events. We’ve got really well qualified community leaders, volunteers, staff at various facilities and venues. We just get it.

    After 2001, actually we hosted both the World Championships in Athletics and the Triathlon World Championships in the same year virtually a month apart, we developed an approach in the municipal government of a one-stop shop for the planning and provision of city services, so event organizers often tell us it’s really easy to plan and host an event because we’ve aligned ourselves in a way to make it easy.

    The municipal, provincial and federal governments have supported our desire to have events in Edmonton financially and otherwise. So we’ve built a niche around hosting events, and it’s worked very well for us and we’re continuing to invest in event planning and hosting. We created a long-term events strategy a year ago. We’re in the process of implementing that, so we see Edmonton as being a bit of a center of that current for sports events, and we hope that’s how others see us.

    Interview conducted by Matthew Grayson

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