As the members of Sport Tourism Canada gathered online on April 27th for the 2022 Annual General Meeting, three themes for the sport tourism industry were clearly outlined.
In his opening remarks, Chair of the STC Board, Neal Alderson noted that the industry is recovering. In 2021 several cities, along with national sport organizations and event rights holders, hosted local and international events in Canada. He cited their ability to adapt to safe Covid-protocols as key to the successful return to hosting. This demonstrated the resiliency of the industry. As well he lauded Sport Tourism Canada’s leadership during the recovery, and its ability to retain members despite the most unusual circumstances. And the changing conditions have also spurred members on to reimagine how our industry can be better and stronger, with new ideas, concepts and bold approaches helping us to move the industry from good to great.
In the same vein, he indicated the STC Board had shifted its focus to long-term sustainability. That includes increasing the number of board members to 14, to proactively plan for the challenges ahead, rather than reacting to situations as they occur. The different standing committees of the Board have helped move various items forward, and he encouraged members to contribute their skill and expertise to these committees as opportunities arise. The STC office has also undergone a change, moving to a remote work model, rather than a fixed location.
He thanked the members for their support of STC, as well as Destination Canada and Sport Canada for their continuing partnership, and the staff of STC for their dedication and expertise.
Alderson finished on a positive note, as he mentioned how inspired he was by the work done to host and produce exceptional local, national and international sport events in Canada. “Sports and sport events are returning, teams are travelling and filling hotels leading the return of the tourism and hospitality industry. We need to tell these stories and what the power of sport tourism is doing in our communities,” and encouraged members to share individual sport tourism success stories with local and provincial tourism and elected officials.
Grant MacDonald, COO of Sport Tourism Canada, outlined the new strategy that will provide the adequate resources to attract, deliver and measure the impacts of sport events from local to international. The five pillars of this new strategy are:
- Influencing Change though making sport tourism a priority at all levels of government and gathering data to inform decision for all.
- Financial Stability with more resources in the sport tourism system and access to resources for all levels of sport hosting from local to national levels.
- Voice of Sport Hosting with STC leading the awareness about the sport tourism sector and getting fact-based information into the hands of all decision-makers.
- Sector Development through the establishment of standards tools and resources including transfer of knowledge for the entire sport hosting system in Canada.
- Organizational Development through a centralized resource that can assist all member groups in sport, in tourism, in government, in economic development and in the supply chain to help support the entire sector.
He thanked the members of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Team for their continued work to help identify how to improve EDI in our sector. The recommendations of the Advocacy Task Force have been adopted and implemented, as STC actively works to create more awareness about the sport tourism sector. He also recognized the support of Destination Canada and Sport Canada as critical to the continued success of STC.
Chief Financial Officer Christine Innocente reported on the stable financial situation of STC. The members appointed the Frouin Group to serve as auditors for the next fiscal year.
Board Member Update
Neal Alderson thanked the two outgoing members of the Board, Past Chair Blair McIntosh and Graham Brown, for their valued service to the organization.
Returning to the Board to serve two-year terms (2022 – 2024) are: Heather Bury, Saskatoon, SK; Sheena McCrate, St. John’s, NL; and Andréanne Paquet, Montréal, QC.
Newly elected members of the expanded board are: Carson Ackroyd, Calgary, AB; Cindy Medynski, Edmonton, AB; Matt Moore, Truro, NS; Lori Talling, Durham, ON; and Allyson Tonelli, Kingston, ON.
The remaining members of the Board serving their 2021-2023 term are: Neal Alderson, Bedford, NS; Michelle Collens, Vancouver, BC; Janet Guthrie, Leduc, AB; Annie Henry, Winnipeg, MB; Dean McIntosh, Calgary, AB: and Scott Pritchard, Toronto, ON.
At the subsequent Board meeting held on April 28th, Heather Bury was elected to serve as Chair, Sheena McCrate as Vice-Chair and Scott Pritchard as Treasurer. Neal Alderson moves to the Past-Chair role, while COO Grant MacDonald is the Secretary of the Board