The provincial government is throwing its financial support behind a major figure skating event coming to Kelowna later this year.
With members of the Kelowna Figure Skating Club providing the backdrop, Premier Christy Clark, announced the province will kick in $100,000 to support Skate Canada International to be held Oct. 30 to Nov 1 at Prospera Place.
“This is a celebration of sport, of people, young men and women who have dedicated their lives to be absolutely the best. It's a celebration and an opportunity for people all across the country to watch and aspire,” Clark told a press conference Wednesday morning.
“To see what hard work, dedication, commitment and a belief in yourself can give you. Not just a medal, not just recognition, but the kind of character that everyone of these people demonstrates every day in order to succeed.”
Clark says the province put forth the money to ensure the event came to Kelowna not only for the figure skating fans of the province, but for the economic benefits as well.
“When this competition was held in New Brunswick (2013) it generated about $4M worth of spin-offs for local small businesses. New Brunswick is lovely, but it ain't Kelowna,” chuckled the premier.
“What I particularly like about today's announcement is it's really going to put this city, the Okanagan and British Columbia on the map with millions of television viewers and you can't buy that stuff,” added Mayor Walter Gray.
It was estimated two million Canadians and another 25 million worldwide tuned into the 2013 Skate Canada International competition.
Skate Canada will bring together some of the top competitors from as many as 15 countries competing in men's, ladies, dance and pairs events.
A year ago, Canadians Patrick Chan and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the men's and ice dance competitions respectively.
“This is a big event. It is an opportunity to bring the best skaters in the world to communities across Canada.,” says Skate Canada Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Halliday.
“For people to come out and see these skaters and be inspired to be their best, whether it's on the ice or in life. We want to inspire everyone, but the real joy is when you can inspire the youth and motivate them to compete and bring out their best.”