It was 20 years ago that Victoria was Catching the Spirit in preparation to host the XV Commonwealth Games.
For two weeks, the city was ablaze with traditional costumes from Commonwealth countries, cultural events of music and dance were held around the city, amazing athletes mingled in the crowds and wowed us with their performance and the work of thousands of volunteers was highly applauded. The enthusiasm for the Games was overwhelming.
The first Games, known then as the British Empire Games, were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario in which some 400 athletes took part in six different sports. The Games underwent several name changes until finally becoming the Commonwealth Games for the 1978 Games in Edmonton.
The Queen’s Baton Relay has been a tradition associated with the Games since 1958. Launched from Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty The Queen, the baton is carried by thousands of people through Commonwealth countries and territories before arriving at the stadium for the Opening Ceremonies.
The Spirit of the Games lives on as Glasgow hosts 6,500 athletes and officials to the XX Commonwealth Games, which started July 23.
Among Team Canada’s 50 athletes will be locals who will take part in diving, swimming, rugby 7s, triathlon and lawn bowls.
As we watch the Games unfold and cheer on our athletes, let us remember the dedicated training, hard work and personal sacrifice that each team member has undergone to reach such high international standards of competitive athleticism.
I am sure our local community will join the Vancouver Island Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society, not only in wishing our athletes a safe journey and much success, but also a truly cultural experience as they participate in friendly competition with members of our Commonwealth countries.
Vancouver Island Branch
Royal Commonwealth Society