CHARLOTTETOWN: The Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown was alive with excitement on Sunday night as week 2 athletes from all of Canada’s provinces and territories converged for the closing ceremony at the 2023 Canada Games.
It was a party-like atmosphere inside the home of the Charlottetown Islanders as athletes and staff from each province/territory were paraded in and then stood for the closing ceremony.
As they were paraded in many athletes posed for photos, showed their enthusiasm and excitement at the completion of competition on the biggest stage of their young lives.
More than 3,600 participants, 5,000 smiling volunteers, and thousands of visitors experienced the country’s largest multi-sport event and PEI’s unique Island spirit and charm.
The 2023 Games marked the third time PEI has hosted the Canada Games.
Nova Scotia was led in by flagbearers Emma Archibald of Fall River and Halifax’s Thomas Ashton.
As the ceremony continued on, athletes were seen waving their flags proudly, taking photos with friends or teammates and looking for loved ones in the very good-sized crowd.
It was a ‘Party on the Dock’, and featured music and sounds of PEI and Canada’s East Coast while celebrating all the amazing athletic achievements of Canada’s best young athletes.
Fall River’s Dee Dee Austin was the main performer, and she concluded the ceremony and the 2023 Games with a heart pounding, on fire performance. The short set she had included the debut in person performance of Natural, Born Original, her latest single which was also just released on March 5.
Austin, an Indigenous singer, was one of the performers at the Illumination Festival on March 4 at Credit Union Place in Summerside.
A short speech was given by Wayne Carew, Wayne Carew, Board Chair, PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society, and PEI premier Dennis King came in waving a big PEI flag near the end of the event when he was announced.
Representatives from the St. John’s 2025 Canada Summer Games were on hand to accept the traditional handover of the Official Canada Games Flag, as the athletes celebrated the Canada Games moving from “Island to Island.”
DJ Bones also performed, and Chris Gallant did as well at a lighthouse at the back of the rink behind the athletes.
Some Island music from Gadelle got things started, as did some dancing by Wowkwis, the Games mascot.
Once Austin was finished and the ceremony concluded, each team was called to their buses to high fives from many of the volunteers with the Games.
The volunteers had just a couple hours early cheered on each of the teams as they came through the doors at the Eastlink Centre, with much enthusiasm.
Here are some more photos we snapped at the opening ceremony: