The 2014 Canadian Championships will be much more than a competition to determine who will earn one of the coveted berths on the 2014 Olympic Winter Games team.
The 100th year of Canadian Championships will be celebrated in Ottawa and yes, that means a party is in order.
In line with the theme of the event — “100 Years of Champions” — Skate Canada has invited all living Canadian champions to Ottawa for the occasion, along with World and Olympic medalists.
Governor-General David Johnston and his wife, the honorary patrons for the centennial celebration, will host a reception for the Skate Canada alumni at their residence, Rideau Hall during the event. A skating show will take place on the outdoor rink at Rideau Hall (choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle) featuring a number of local skaters.
Ice shows are also planned throughout the week at the Rink of Dreams, a community ice surface in front of Ottawa’s City Hall.
A special event will take place Jan. 9, the evening before the competition begins. A musical salute to skating will be held at the National Arts Centre, featuring maestro David Warrack and the Canada Pops Orchestra.
“For the very first time, to our knowledge, the orchestra will actually play live to a video performance,” Debi Wilkes explained. “The performance that has been selected at this time is Tessa (Virtue) and Scott (Moir’s) 2010 Olympic free dance to Mahler’s Symphony.”
Federal Minister of Affairs, John Baird will host a VIP reception prior to that performance. An autograph session is also planned with guest stars at the National Arts Centre show.
Throughout Canadian nationals (Jan. 9-15), the history of skating in Canada will be celebrated. A huge display will be set up at the Governor-General’s residence, which will be moved to the Canadian Tire Centre for fans to view during the competition.
Buttle and athlete ambassador Joannie Rochette, will be in-venue hosts throughout the week. Rochette is looking forward to the chance to rub shoulders with the legends.
“Whenever you’re with them, they tell stories about their time,” she said. “It’s great to connect with the past that way. It’s because of them that skating is where it is right now.”