There were plenty of smiles and cheers as the NL contingent made its way into Credit Union Place Saturday for the opening ceremonies of the 2009 Canada Summer Games. Sailor Rebbecca Power carried this province's flag. - Photo by Robin Short/The Telegram
What for many athletes gathered here will be the highlight of their sporting careers officially got under way Saturday afternoon as Prime Minister Stephen Harper opened the 2009 Canada Summer Games.
The P.E.I. event mark the 40th anniversary of the Summer Games which began in Halifax. Since then, it's come to evolve into the country's largest single sporting event, celebrating athletic achievement amongst the country's youth.
The program has been a breeding ground for some of the country's best athletes, namely basketball star Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, baseball stars Russell Martin of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jeff Francis of the Colorado Rockies and Olympians Bruny Surin, Anne Montminy, Adam Van Koeverden and Alexander Despatie, to name a few.
Though it was a glorious day in Summerside Saturday - 28 degrees and a cloudless sky - the Games' opening was staged inside - for whatever reason - which didn't deter close to 3,000 patrons who filled the brand new Credit Union Place as each of the 10 provinces and Nunavut paraded into the multi-purpose facility (it holds a pair of hockey rinks, swimming pool, gym and bowling lanes) to a boistrous applause.
Flagbearer Rebecca Power, a sailor, led the Newfoundland and Labrador contingent into the ceremonies.
Newfoundlaand is represented by 369 athletes, coaches and mission staff - 199 of whom will be involved in the first week of the Games followed by 170 in the second week.
The first half of the Games will be centered mainly in the Summerside area of the province, while Week 2 switches to the Charlottetown region.
Week 1 sports are male and female basketball, cycling, diving, rugby, sailing, female soccer, softball, tennis, triathlon, beach volleyball, wrestling and rowing. The Week 2 sports are athletics, baseball, golf, male soccer, swimming, male and female volleyball, female wrestling and canoe-kayak.
For updates throughout the course of the games check out The Telegram's website daily.