As the members of Sport Tourism Canada gathered online on May 26th for the 2023 Annual General Meeting, three themes for the sport tourism industry were clearly outlined. In his opening remarks, Interim Chair of the STC Board, Scott Pritchard noted that while the impact of COVID-19 has been devastating on the industry, he noted that the work that STC’s members are doing to be more resilient and to reimagine how our industry can be better, has resulted in sport tourism leading the recovery of the tourism industry.
In November 2022, STC hosted the first in-person Sport Events Congress since 2019. Initially, Edmonton was slated to host SEC in March 2020, but just two weeks before Congress, COVID hit, and plans changed. Resiliency is inherent in sport and never has this more apparent than at SEC22. The ability to reconnect with our friends and colleagues in Edmonton was invaluable.
The sport tourism landscape has changed, and STC, as the country’s leading industry association for sport tourism, has had to change with it. Pritchard stated that despite the changes at both the operational and Board levels, STC had a clean audit and is financially viable. While still recovering from these organizational developments, it is anticipated that STC will remain in this transition phase for the next 6-12 months.
Pritchard ended by thanking several individuals for their dedication and hard work to see STC through this period of transition. First, he recognized Grant MacDonald for his many years of service to STC as a Board member, Chair and Past Chair, Head of Consulting and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer. Grant’s support and dedication to STC has been unwavering. His work on the Bouncing Back Task Force and advocacy work with the Federal Government, specifically Sport Canada and Destination Canada, positioned STC well coming out of the pandemic. Grant is a consummate advocate of the sport tourism industry in Canada. In mid-2022, he advised the Board that he would be stepping down as COO as of September to focus on his consulting business, GM Event Inc. Pritchard conveyed the Board’s sincere appreciation of Grant’s many contributions to STC over the years and his continued work in the sport tourism space in our country.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Pritchard also acknowledged and thanked to Sheena McCrate, Christine Innocente, Derek Mager and Jacquelyn Novak for their leadership and commitment to stabilizing our organization during this period of transition. Additionally, through the efforts of the sport tourism consulting services team, Derek, and Jacquelyn, have continued to deliver the tools and services our members have come to know and depend on to secure Canada’s position at the forefront of sport hosting.
Pritchard acknowledged the efforts of his fellow Board members, Janet Guthrie, Michelle Collens, Allyson Tonelli, and Lori Talling for their relentless efforts in bringing Sport Events Congress 2023 to fruition.
Finishing on a positive note, Pritchard mentioned how he is inspired by the work done to produce exceptional local, national, and international sport events in Canada. As we continue our post-pandemic recovery, now is the time for us all to reimagine how we move our industry from good to great.
Sheena McCrate, Interim CEO of Sport Tourism Canada, provided a review of the organisational changes that occurred in 2022 and highlighted a meeting that the Board of Directors had with Minister of Tourism, Randy Boissonnault during SEC22. The Minister encouraged the Board to partner with Destination Canada. In December, the Board submitted a funding and partnership proposal to Destination Canada. Discussions between the two organisations are continuing.
Chief Financial Officer, Christine Innocente reported on the stable financial situation of STC. The STC membership appointed the Frouin Group to serve as auditors for the next fiscal year.
Board Member Update
Scott Pritchard thanked the three outgoing Board members, Past Chair, Neal Alderson, Dean McIntosh, and Annie Henry for their valued service and contributions to the organization.
Returning to the Board to serve two-year terms (2023-2025) are: Michelle Collens, City of Vancouver; Janet Guthrie, City of Leduc; and Scott Pritchard, PGA Tour Canada.
Newly elected members of the board are: Kevin Eshkawkogan, Indigenous Tourism Ontario; Zanth Jarvis, Tourism London; Colby Pridham, Events East Group; Scott Ring, Canada Games Council and Kathleen Trainor, Tourism Barrie, all serving a two-year term. Janelle Janis, Explore Edmonton and Nolan Thiessen, Curling Canada will serve 1-year terms.
The remaining members of the Board serving their 2022-2024 term are:
Carson Ackroyd, Tourism Calgary; Cindy Medynski, Explore Edmonton (maternity leave); Matt Moore, Rath Eastlink Community Centre; Andréanne Paquette, Tourism Montreal (maternity leave); Lori Talling, Region of Durham; and Allyson Tonelli, Tourism Kingston.
At the subsequent Board meeting held on May 26th, Allyson Tonelli was elected to serve as Chair, Janet Guthrie as Vice-Chair and Scott Pritchard as Treasurer while Interim CEO Sheena McCrate is the Secretary of the Board.