Speaking with the Casket on July 10, exactly three weeks until the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games, co-chair of the organizing committee Carl Chisholm said “we seem to be well on our way.”
The Games are coming to Antigonish, July 31 to Aug. 4.
The event, in Nova Scotia for only the second time, will see more than 900 athletes – from all 12 territorial chapters – along with 600 volunteers and 3,000 fans, coming to town.
Athletes will compete in nine sports – track and field, basketball, soccer, softball, bocce, golf, rhythmic gymnastics, powerlifting and swimming.
Chisolm noted folks from the Special Olympics’ national head office were in town during the week for meetings and expressed that they were pleased with what they were seeing and hearing.
“And if you can impress them …,” the former mayor for the Town of Antigonish said, a reference, again, to preparations going along well.
Chisholm talked about the entertainment scheduled for the Games, especially during opening and closing ceremonies.
“It will be something people from B.C. to Newfoundland will not forget for quite a while,” he said.
The co-chair was also showing off a print of a painting by well-known, Halifax-based artist Hal Jones, which the artist has generously created to be used as a fundraiser for Special Olympics. Chisholm said Jones contacted him about the idea, with a concept of the finished image already started.
“He said he would love to do something for Special Olympics and, if he put something together, would I have enough time to take a look at it,” Chisholm said about the origins of the print.
“He drove down from Halifax with the original; with something very similar to this [the finished artwork]. When I saw it, I thought ‘wow.’
“And whatever money is made from this, is going back to Special Olympics. He [Jones] said I’m going to keep and frame the original and sell it, and that money will go to Special Olympics. And if you want to get some prints made, you could sell those.”
Chisholm approached the committee’s board with the idea and it was met with enthusiasm. He suggested a $20 price for each print.
“I thought; we want to sell as many as we can so let’s not overprice it. Everyone has a $20 bill on them, so it’s going to be a print for $20. I would think a lot of the parents and friends of the athletes would buy one of these because it’s the 50th anniversary [for Special Olympics Canada], it has Antigonish on it, St. F.X., everything you could think of … it’s perfect, I think.”
Chisholm said the print will be readily available to purchase during the Games and is already available at the Games’ Antigonish office on St. Mary’s Street.
Asked about obtaining general information on the Games, such as schedules, venues, accommodations, and contact information, Chisholm pointed to the events website at www.so2018.com as being very comprehensive and user-friendly.
For those wishing to speak to someone, they can contact Games’ manager Matt Quinn at 902-429-2266 x 4 (landline) or 902-225-8251(cell).