But, no such luck; staging a successful Canada Games also requires a myriad of articles and furnishings, generally coming under the title of props.
Information boards, picnic tables for the teams, team benches, key holders, distance measures for the long jump, to name just a few. And these are needed in multiples, as 4000 athletes from across Canada will be competing.
Thanks to students at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT), organizers were able to check these items, and more, off their long wish list.
Students in the computer-aided design (CAD) program designed and then drew up the plans for the picnic tables which will be used by the teams for everything from somewhere to eat to a meeting place to discuss performances.
Students also designed and did the drawings for the team benches. Using these sketches, carpentry students built 14 of the picnic tables and six team benches.
And not to forget the mundane but practical key holders they built as there will be a lot of keys to keep track of during the Games.
It’s just a small component of the students’ coursework but one they’re immensely proud of. After all, the Games will attract an estimated 20,000 visitors and will be televised across Canada.
While the CAD and Carpentry programs are traditional hands on trade programs, YouthBuild is an innovative new program at MITT. It offers high school classes, the Trades Exploration Program and Carpentry Level 1 to young people who are predominately Indigenous and want to complete their grade 12 and/or go on to find employment in the trades.
The eight participants in the Trades Exploration stream put in quite a few hours in between their classes, building 34 dual duty scoring/message boards, eight long jump distance indicators as well as takeoff markers and record indicators for long jump.
Many of the Trades Exploration students had no prior carpentry knowledge and it was a learning experience for them. Tristan Shumaker teaches the Trades Exploration curriculum.
“I challenged my students to find the most efficient way to build all of the different products. They came up with a list of materials that left little or no waste,” Shumaker said.
“We tried to keep prices low for the Canada Games projects so we mostly used 2 x 4 construction materials and high quality sanded pine plywood,” he said. “The 2 x 4 construction materials can look as good as or better than higher quality material after machining and sanding,”
By the time the students tackled the long jump distance markers, they were competent with common power and hand tools. That’s a good thing, as “some assembly required” really rang true.
After cutting the plywood to the size specified in the drawings by the Canada Summer Games, the pieces were then primed and painted in a high gloss ultra white. Assembling a marker consisted of lining up two boards face down and joining them with a two foot piano hinge screwed in from both sides with close to 100 screws.
Distance indicators were then marked off with painters tape every 10 centimetres. The black lines were then painted on and vinyl decals were adhered above the major increments. As you can imagine, accuracy is key when measuring the length of a jump.
Jeff Hnatiuk, President and CEO of the 2017 Canada Summer Games Host Society, and Games mascot Niibin, visited the Youth Build campus in the Social Enterprise Centre to thank the students in person.
“The Games are the largest event Winnipeg has hosted in 20 years and there’s no way we’d be able to pull this event together all on our own,” Hnatiuk said.
He was thrilled with the partnership which started, as so many good things do, with an offer of help gratefully accepted in a casual conversation.
“The hard work and time the students have put in is invaluable,” he stressed. “Competition will be executed to standard and folks will have storage units and places to sit because of the MITT students contribution.”
The students’ work is just one example of all the details to be checked off the long to do list before the Games start. In addition to the volunteers in their bright orange shirts, there are untold others who have contributed in small and large ways behind the scenes.