Canada Winter Games off to speedy start



The first day of the Canada Winter Games is off to a roaring start with five records broken at the long-track speed skating oval.

About 2,700 athletes are in Nova Scotia and the weather — at least for Day One — was co-operating.

Race official Peggy Poole of Winnipeg said she is very impressed with the outdoor oval on the Halifax Common.

"This is just an absolute gem," said Poole. "It's a perfect sport-for-life venue."

City officials haven't decided what will happen to the oval once the games are complete. Thousands of people signed a petition to keep the oval and numerous businesses have put their financial support behind saving it.

Shauna White of Saint John, who was cheering on her son Michael at the Games, told CBC News she hopes the oval has a future.

"I truly hope they're able to keep it here in Halifax," she said. "It would be a huge boost for speed skating in the Maritimes."
20 sports in competition

Hundreds of spectators were at the oval Saturday morning to take in the first competition.

Cindy Longmire brought her four kids from Digby.

"We wanted to expose them to the wonders of the Canada Games," said Longmire.

By day's end, Quebec ended up with five medals in long track speed skating competitions — two gold, two silver and one bronze. Alberta got three medals in the same sport — one gold, one silver and one bronze. B.C. received one bronze medal in long track speed skating.

The Games, with events in 20 sports, will last two weeks.