The Intersection of Art with Tourism and Sport

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, this time of year proffers many special days and weeks heralding key events and aspects of the lives of Canadians and indeed those worldwide.

This week’s Tourism Week and last week’s International Museum Day are no exception. Being inextricably intertwined, it is fitting these are celebrated in the same months. For the arts to be healthy, tourism must be healthy and vice versa. Post-pandemic recovery for both will be complex and I am sure will feel like veritable swings and roundabouts.

Now is the time to look ahead. What do we want society to look like? How do we as Canadians want to partake in our favoured and perhaps new activities? How do we want to take our place globally? I’ve already spoken of Canada’s role in the forthcoming Pan African Heritage World Museum.

Today I am delighted to tell you that in 2023, one of the most exciting global sporting and cultural events will be held in my province, Manitoba, July 28 to August 6 — the World Police & Fire Games, one of the largest sporting events in the world, second only in size to the Olympics. Linking the globe, drawing tourists into our midst once again, it will honour excellence, the height of sportsmanship, collegiality and community and national pride; a wonderful celebration of the world’s front-line workers when the pandemic will be behind us.

These biennial games feature more than 70 countries, with over 10,000 athletes taking part, many accompanied by family and friends, making this sports and cultural phenomenon the biggest event in Manitoba’s history. Over 100 languages are spoken every day in Winnipeg, so what better place in North America to serve as host? Global attention will showcase Manitoba’s world-class sporting venues, accommodating over 60 different sports.

I am sure in your sleep that you cite the UNESCO conventions deeming that the arts must be part of all international games, the coming together of the essential aspects of humanity and community, sport and the arts.

The arts component of the games is now in discussion. Winnipeg’s arts sector, a national hub of creativity and diversity, will enrich the events. No one knows how to host an event and party better than Winnipeg, just as we did for the two Pan American Games in 1967 and 1999.

The world will see first-hand our cultural masterpieces, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s newly opened Inuit Art Centre, Qaumajuq; the Canadian Museum for Human Rights; Assiniboine Park’s Journey to Churchill; and Folklorama. Everyone will receive a warm, friendly Manitoba welcome. I applaud all involved. Thank you.

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