Atlantic Canada wins big at CSTA 2019 PRESTIGE Awards

The outstanding events, people and organizations from Canada’s vibrant sport tourism industry in Canada were honoured at the 13th annual Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) PRESTIGE Awards. The awards recognize those who work to bid, host and stage sport events across the country.

“Every person and every event that was nominated helped contribute to Canada’s well-deserved reputation for hosting events. Once again, our finalists represented the breadth and depth of sport tourism in our nation,” said Rick Traer, CEO, Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. “Each one embodies the dedication and commitment that is so critical to successful event bidding, hosting and delivery. We are proud to recognize recipients from across the country, from large and small centers, and a wide range of events with the 2019 PRESTIGE Awards.”

Among the winners was Event Atlantic’s board member, Laurel Lea, Tourism Development Officer for the City of Charlottetown.  Laurel was awarded the 2018 CSTA Sport Tourism Rising Star of the Year Award. This award recognizes the ‘next-gen’ of sport tourism professionals in Canada, acknowledging emerging leaders who have already demonstrated commitment, creativity, and dynamic energy in the sport tourism industry.

Of the 8 awards, 4 were awarded to Atlantic Canada:

CSTA Canadian Sport Event Sponsorship Initiative of the Year Award presented by Adup Display
Sobeys Inc. & Michelin Corporate Foundation, Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games, (Antigonish, N.S.) 
Both Sobeys Incorporated & Michelin Corporate Foundation were fully involved in the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. They went far beyond their financial contributions to create a Games atmosphere which engaged athletes, volunteers, families and supporters. Their connection to the Games grew the awareness of Special Olympics, and many of their employees volunteered throughout the week. Their successful goal of an athlete-centred Games, combined with the Sobeys and Michelin Square which gave all visitors a truly unique Games experience, ensured the best ever event and created an enduring legacy to grow Special Olympics in Nova Scotia.

CSTA Sport Event Legacy of the Year Award presented by ConnectOnCampus (two recipients)
9th Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships 2018, (Truro, N.S.)
Hosting the 9th Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships marked the first major event held in the pool facility at Truro’s Rath Eastlink Community Centre. A significant investment was made to upgrade its infrastructure, including an arena screen and dehumidifier. They hosted and fed over 500 athletes, coaches and trainers from more than 25 countries. Plastic waste was reduced by using large water dispensers rather than disposable bottles, and bikes and buses kept the transportation carbon footprint low. The most enduring legacies are new programs in partnership with the Autism Society Swim Class and the Special Olympics swim club and a new awareness of inclusiveness within the community.

CSTA Sport Tourism Rising Star of the Year Award presented by Sport Durham
Laurel Lea, Tourism Officer, City of Charlottetown – SCORE, (Charlottetown, P.E.I.)
Currently the Tourism Officer for the City of Charlottetown’s sport tourism organization SCORE, Laurel Lea has had a profound impact on attracting events to the city. She has led bid development, been a part of multiple host committees and has helped secure funding to enable hosting events. As a result, SCORE has successfully held many high profile regional, Eastern Canadian, national, and international events. Last year it ranked #1 for destinations with populations less than 50,000 on the GSI Canada Index. Chair of the Charlottetown Special Events Reserve Fund and a Board Member of Event Atlantic, Laurel has also contributed to SCORE’s five-year plan to expand its efforts and to be even more successful in the future.

CSTA Canadian Sport Event of the Year Award (Group B: budget less than $1 million) presented by Québec Destination affaires
2018 Canada 55+ Games, (Saint John, N.B.) 
The 2018 Canada 55 plus Games celebrated healthy living – and also brought together various senior clubs, centres, and accommodation providers throughout Saint John. Targeting 55+ aged volunteers was a success and raised awareness of sporting opportunities for the 55+ community, inspiring many to compete provincially and nationally at future events, as well as to become officials. Local retailers, restaurants and hotels created incentive programs for the 2300 participants, hosted specials for different teams and ensured the games spirit was felt throughout the city. The legacy of the event can be seen in improved facilities, funds donated to help seniors stay active, and growing the awareness of the Games for the future.