Home Community Barrie A natural fit: The Canadian Army partners with the Ontario Winter Games

A natural fit: The Canadian Army partners with the Ontario Winter Games

Ontario Winter Games - From February 2-5 and 9-12 (2023), Renfrew County hosts the Ontario Olympic Games featuring more than 3000 young athletes and coaches from across Ontario. On February 3 Garrison Petawawa hosts Futsal and Swimming tournaments at Dundonald Hall Fitness Sports and Aquatic Centre. / Jeux d’hiver de l’Ontario – Du 2 au 5 février et du 9 au 12 février 2023, le comté de Renfrew a accueilli les Jeux d’hiver de l’Ontario mettant en vedette plus de 3000 jeunes athlètes et entraîneurs de partout en Ontario. Le 3 février, la Garnison Petawawa tient des tournois de futsal et de natation au complexe sportif Dundonald et au centre aquatique. (Photo: Cpl Sarah Morley)

The Canadian Army (CA) recently partnered with the Renfrew County 2023 Ontario Winter Games, a multi-sport event held every two years for athletes aged 12 to 22. This year, the Games took place throughout the Ottawa Valley including in the sports complex at Garrison Petawawa. Over 5,000 young athletes, their coaches, their parents, spectators, and volunteers had a chance to interact with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members from 4th Canadian Division. These kind of outreach events present an excellent opportunity for soldiers and recruiters to interact with Canadians, share their stories and help Canadians better understand the CA and the CAF.

Colonel Jason Guiney, Commander of 4th Canadian Division Support Group and Garrison Petawawa addressed the athletes on behalf of the CA during the opening ceremonies. He noted that the bond amongst athletes in sports is similar to the CAF culture. A culture based on a unifying spirit that brings all members together for a common goal.

The partnership between the Games and the CAF came naturally. Team sports and the CA share much in common such as the achievement of objectives and the intent to demonstrate excellence. Sports and fitness, as we all know are a big part of CAF culture and history. They are fantastic means of ensuring that personnel are ready and fit to deploy both physically and mentally while building an esprit de corps.

Ontario Winter Games Barrie Colts Hockey Team interact with members of 1 RCR supporting the Ontario Olympic Winter Games in Renfrew Country. Photo taken on February 4th, 2023 at the Ma-te-way Park arena in Renfrew Ontario. (Photo credit: Capt Stephen Stecura)

Throughout the course of the Games, 33 Canadian Brigade Group and 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG) had booths and displays at various venues and events to connect with attendees, athletes and coaches. One such display was put on by members of 1stBattalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (a unit of 2 CMBG). The soldiers had a LAV6 on display and some of the athletes were given the opportunity to see inside of the vehicle. 

Many of the young athletes from the Games spoke to the members at the displays and asked questions relating to what they had learned in school or seen on television. Athletes, attendees, parents and coaches alike had the chance to learn about CA trades, employment opportunities and the benefits of a military career.  

Outreach opportunities are important for recruiting and interacting with the public to showcase our capabilities and share CA stories. Having the chance to interact with possible young recruits offered a chance for CA recruiters to share about the opportunities in the CA and while celebrating this sporting event.

Source: The Maple Leaf