Splashy reveal of Canada Summer Games medals
No one can accuse the Niagara Host Society of not being able to put on a celebration.
One night after staging a concert featuring Tim Hicks, Loverboy and POESY, the Society officially marked 100 days to the opening of the 2022 Canada Summer Games — or 100 days, three hours, 14 minutes and 51 seconds by the estimation of board chair Doug Hamilton — by hosting a medal reveal ceremony Thursday afternoon at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery in St Davids.
“It is a significant milestone for our journey to the Niagara 2022 Canada Games,” Hamilton said. “Traditionally this medal reveal ceremony is an event that takes place at the same time as the Opening Ceremonies, however, because of the importance of this event for us, we decided it should have its own stage to showcase this tremendous story behind our medal design and those who helped write the story.”
Thursday’s event opened with a slick video on the making of the medal followed by the procession in of the medal, led by a mountie and the earnest-looking Robert Land Academy colour guard. When the speeches were over, medal designer Shaun O’Melia, a Niagara College designer who won out over more than 45 submissions, would end up posing for more pictures than a groom at a massive wedding. Niagara College’s graphic design program clearly didn’t prepare O’Melia for the red carpet moment but he was up to the challenge.
“I never saw it leading to this, however, when I did see that it was a program and initiative that was going to be launched in Niagara, it was just impossible to say not to,” he said. “I have deep roots in Niagara and as a St. Catharines resident, I felt it would be nice to design something that brings the community together and it is something that I really wanted to add to my portfolio. I am really excited that it is going to be there forever.”
He did agree that non-stop smiling through so many photo ops was a challenge.
“It is a little nerve-wracking and a little more than I am used to but I am very grateful all these people who are very much into the design as much as I am. It is very rewarding in that sense and it brings me joy.”
The 28th edition of the Canada Games are scheduled from Aug. 6 to 21 in Niagara and more than 2,000 of the gold, silver and bronze medals will be presented to deserving athletes.
“It will be a rewarding experience when that day comes,” O’Melia said. “Right now, it is very surreal to me but I think it is going to hit home harder when I see the devotion the athletes have put into this and their journey. I really hope that they cherish this medal, just love it for what it is and be able to revisit it and pick up on the little things that have been put into the rationale.”
The five main features of the medal and lanyard are: an image of Niagara Falls, which is divided into 13 waves at the base of the medal to represent Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, the 13 municipalities in Niagara and the 13 ceremonies of the moon celebrated annually by the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, the original residents of Niagara; the sun located behind the falls which represents its crucial role in sustaining life and in the growth of Niagara, along with the Games’ summer schedule; seven human figures on medal that acknowledge an ancient Haudenosaunee philosophy in which decisions made today should result in a sustainable world seven generations from now; different depths and levels were embedded into the medal to represent the Niagara Escarpment; and, the Indigenous lanyard design which was inspired by several historic Wampum Treaties which promoted friendship, respect and unity.
“Today, the Indigenous Partnership Council and Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have created history together. It is the first time there has ever been a design on the lanyard of the gold, silver and bronze Canada Summer Games medals,” said Michele-Elise Burnett, a board member of the Niagara 2022 Games Host Society and co-chair of the IPC. “This is very exciting and something we can all be proud of! We are walking together as one.”
Teck Resources Limited will be the supplier of the medals.
“For over 100 years, Teck has worked to make communities across Canada stronger, including through partnerships with great organizations like the Canada Games,” said Don Lindsay, Teck’s president and CEO. “We’re proud to play a role in developing these medals that represent the region and Indigenous communities while also celebrating the incredible achievements of athletes from coast to coast.”
Kelly-Ann Paul, President and CEO of the CGC, was thrilled to celebrate the medals and the 100-day mark.
“We salute Teck, the 2022 Host Society, Shaun O’Melia and the Indigenous Partnership Council for bringing these medals to life,” she said. “The medals not only reflect the history and beauty of Niagara, but will undoubtedly spark greatness by igniting the competitive spirit of athletes from coast to coast to coast.”