Sport Tourism Industry recognizes best of 2018 with CSTA’s PRESTIGE Awards

Posted on March 22, 2019 at 2:07 pm.

Charlottetown, PE, March 20, 2019 – The outstanding events, people, and organizations from Canada’s vibrant sport tourism industry in Canada were honoured at the 13th annual Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) PRESTIGE Awards today in Ottawa.

The City of Charlottetown’s Tourism Officer, Laurel Lea, was awarded the 2018 CSTA Sport Tourism Rising Star of the Year Award. This award recognizes the ‘next-gen’ of sport tourism professionals in Canada, acknowledging emerging leaders who have already demonstrated commitment, creativity, and dynamic energy in the sport tourism industry.”Laurel is very deserving of this award and is recognized as one of Canada’s top young sport tourism professionals,” said Councillor Kevin Ramsay, Chair of the City’s Economic Development, Tourism & Events Management Committee. “The City of Charlottetown is very fortunate to have Laurel as a part of our professional team and on behalf of our Standing Committee, I extend my sincerest congratulations to her on this honour.”

This marks the 6th CSTA PRESTIGE Award for Charlottetown. The City of Charlottetown’s sport tourism initiative, SCORE, is a driving force on the national scene and is currently ranked as the number one sport event hosting destination in Canada for populations less than 50,000 and sixth overall in the country. The SCORE team led by Councillor Ramsay, Events Development Officer, Wayne Long, and Laurel Lea are continuing to promote Charlottetown at the Sport Events Congress currently taking place in Ottawa.

The outstanding events, people and organizations from Canada’s vibrant sport tourism industry in Canada were honoured at the 13th annual Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) PRESTIGE Awards. The awards recognize those who work to bid, host and stage sport events across the country.

“Every person and every event that was nominated helped contribute to Canada’s well-deserved reputation for hosting events. Once again, our finalists represented the breadth and depth of sport tourism in our nation,” said Rick Traer, CEO, Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. “Each one embodies the dedication and commitment that is so critical to successful event bidding, hosting and delivery. We are proud to recognize recipients from across the country, from large and small centers, and a wide range of events with the 2019 PRESTIGE Awards.”

CBC / Radio-Canada Broadcaster and Olympian Alexandre Despatie was the emcee for the marquee announcement. Recipients were named on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 during the 13th PRESTIGE Awards Presentation presented by Saskatoon Sports Tourism followed by the PRESTIGE Awards Networking Reception & Luncheon presented by IHG at the CSTA’s annual Sport Events Congress at The Westin Ottawa.


CSTA Canadian Sport Event Sponsorship Initiative of the Year Award presented by Adup Display

Sobeys Inc. & Michelin Corporate Foundation, Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games, (Antigonish, N.S.)

Both Sobeys Incorporated & Michelin Corporate Foundation were fully involved in the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. They went far beyond their financial contributions to create a Games atmosphere which engaged athletes, volunteers, families and supporters. Their connection to the Games grew the awareness of Special Olympics, and many of their employees volunteered throughout the week. Their successful goal of an athlete-centred Games, combined with the Sobeys and Michelin Square which gave all visitors a truly unique Games experience, ensured the best ever event and created an enduring legacy to grow Special Olympics in Nova Scotia.

CSTA Sport Event Volunteer of the Year Award presented by Edmonton Events

Bernadette McIntyre, 2018 Tim Hortons Brier; 2018 CP Women’s Open; 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup, (Regina, Sask.)

With three major events in Regina in 2018, Bernadette McIntyre played key volunteer roles in each one. She Chaired the Bid Committee for the Tim Hortons Brier, then formed the Host Committee and served on its executive. For the CP Women’s Open, she co-chaired the Host Committee which had 21 event committees, 42 co-chairs and over 1100 volunteers. For the Mastercard Memorial Cup she acted as a liaison between the Host Committee and the venue. Her boundless energy and exceptional organizational skills ensured that event participants, volunteers and attendees had truly fulfilling experiences.

CSTA Sport Event Legacy of the Year Award presented by ConnectOnCampus (two recipients)

9th Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships 2018, (Truro, N.S.)

Hosting the 9th Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships marked the first major event held in the pool facility at Truro’s Rath Eastlink Community Centre. A significant investment was made to upgrade its infrastructure, including an arena screen and dehumidifier. They hosted and fed over 500 athletes, coaches and trainers from more than 25 countries. Plastic waste was reduced by using large water dispensers rather than disposable bottles, and bikes and buses kept the transportation carbon footprint low. The most enduring legacies are new programs in partnership with the Autism Society Swim Class and the Special Olympics swim club and a new awareness of inclusiveness within the community.

HSBC Canada Sevens, (Vancouver, B.C.)

In 2018, HSBC Canada Sevens continued to improve the experience for everyone involved. Over 1,500 children and youth participated through two HSBC Rookie Rugby jamborees, sixteen community visits to Vancouver area schools and a Rookie Rugby demonstration during the tournament. Reducing single-use plastic bottles of water by placing water coolers at venues was well received by World Rugby who has since made plans for the program across the series. Making their volunteers feel engaged has led to a 90-95% volunteer retention rate. New in 2018 the HSBC Canada Sevens Community Visit Program connected teams with local schools and First Nations groups to inspire children to take part in the sport.

CSTA Sport Tourism Rising Star of the Year Award presented by Sport Durham

Laurel Lea, Tourism Officer, City of Charlottetown – SCORE, (Charlottetown, P.E.I.)

Currently the Tourism Officer for the City of Charlottetown’s sport tourism organization SCORE, Laurel Lea has had a profound impact on attracting events to the city. She has led bid development, been a part of multiple host committees and has helped secure funding to enable hosting events. As a result, SCORE has successfully held many high profile regional, Eastern Canadian, national, and international events. Last year it ranked #1 for destinations with populations less than 50,000 on the GSI Canada Index. Chair of the Charlottetown Special Events Reserve Fund and a Board Member of Event Atlantic, Laurel has also contributed to SCORE’s five-year plan to expand its efforts and to be even more successful in the future.

CSTA Sport Tourism Organization of the Year Award presented by WestJet

Sport Hosting Vancouver, (Vancouver, B.C.)

The largest hosting year yet for Sport Hosting Vancouver, 2018’s success was rooted in very specific strategies that drew out-of-town visitors to the city. The organization worked with official travel package operators to develop and sell packages where interest in a specific sport was high, for example the HSBC Canada Sevens in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final to Japanese tour groups. Record breaking numbers and sell outs were a direct result. They also made events more memorable for athletes with the Tourism Experience Passes and were rewarded with the rugby players voting them the #1 stop on the world series.

CSTA Canadian Sport Event of the Year Award (Group B: budget less than $1 million) presented by Québec Destination affaires

2018 Canada 55+ Games, (Saint John, N.B.)

The 2018 Canada 55 plus Games celebrated healthy living – and also brought together various senior clubs, centres, and accommodation providers throughout Saint John. Targeting 55+ aged volunteers was a success and raised awareness of sporting opportunities for the 55+ community, inspiring many to compete provincially and nationally at future events, as well as to become officials. Local retailers, restaurants and hotels created incentive programs for the 2300 participants, hosted specials for different teams and ensured the games spirit was felt throughout the city. The legacy of the event can be seen in improved facilities, funds donated to help seniors stay active, and growing the awareness of the Games for the future.

CSTA Canadian Sport Event of the Year Award (Group A: budget greater than $1 million) presented by Québec Destination affaires

106th Grey Cup and 2018 Grey Cup Festival, ( Edmonton, Alta.)

Edmonton’s organizing committee wanted the 2018 Grey Cup experience to be bigger and even more memorable. The Grey Cup Fan Festival spanned over three blocks in the heart of downtown, creating the largest and most unique fan festival Canada’s big game has ever seen. Some of the free, innovative, interactive activities included the Zipline, which propelled riders down into Edmonton’s iconic river valley; the Street Ski, which allowed festival goers the chance to strap on skis and ride down a hill made of scaffolding on Edmonton’s street, a Bungee Jump, and a mini-football field. The Entertainment Stage was programmed with free concerts, TailGate Parties, and an Esports Tournament rounded out the activities supported by over 1000 volunteers.

CSTA International Sport Event of the Year Award presented by CBC Sports

HSBC Canada Sevens, (Vancouver, B.C.)

Now a fixture on the Vancouver sporting calendar, HSBC Canada Sevens has seen a 25% growth in attendance since it began in 2016. It drew over 77,000 fans to BC Place Stadium, setting the record for Canadian attendance at a rugby event. This celebration of sport and community brings together people from diverse cultural backgrounds, who support their national teams, but cheer just as enthusiastically for others. It supports Rugby Canada’s vision to grow the sport with grassroots engagement for children and youth and high school rugby players. The unbelievable atmosphere from the enthusiastic fans in the stands creates a remarkable experience not only for the players, but volunteers and visitors, who return year after year.

About the PRESTIGE Awards

The PRESTIGE Awards are the CSTA’s marquis Program Recognizing Exceptional Sport Tourism Initiatives, Games & Events. In its 13th year, this annual award program shines a spotlight on the dynamic Canadians, places and events that are building our nation’s growing sport tourism industry.

About the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance

The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance is a non-governmental, member-based, capacity building organization that promotes sport tourism as a grassroots economic development initiative at the community level. The CSTA services over 500 members across Canada, including 130 municipalities, 300 national and provincial sport, multi-sport and major games organizations and a variety of other sport and tourism industry partners. Sport tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry in Canada with over $6.8 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors.