Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame closed until the end of the year
By Zach Worden, Sports Editor
With many museums and stores across Calgary reopening their doors after being forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame made the decision to temporarily close until the end of 2020.
“Though our physical museum is closed, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is committed to the integrity of our programming,” says Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. “We will continue to operate our online and outreach education programs as well as our community traveling exhibits when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.”
The Hall of Fame is located at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park (COP) and provides sports fans with a place to celebrate athletes across Canada.
The Hall opened in 2011 on the west side of COP. It’s a state-of-the-art building that includes 12 interactive galleries, a 125-seat theatre and an education and resource room for visiting schools.
The Hall of Fame is currently home to 673 inductees who are proudly referred to as, “Sport and Spirit Champions that go beyond the win to champion good in their communities while inspiring Canadians to achieve their best in sport and life.”
In the 12 galleries, visitors have the chance to learn and interact with different exhibits, ranging from a “Women in Sport” exhibition to a “Media Room Gallery” exhibition, featuring interactive broadcast booths.
With exhibitions for visitors of all shapes and sizes, the Hall is one of Calgary’s hidden gems when it comes to an entertaining day out for the family.
According to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, “The most popular exhibit is always the hockey gallery… Tourists who visit from out of the country love to see parts of Canada’s most popular sport.”
Aside from the interactive exhibits that draw the most interest, the Hall of Fame says that some of the other main activities include: “Curriculum-aligned education programs, including in-house programs, national outreach programs and special events, including ‘Who’s in the Hall Wednesdays, Annual Induction Festival and Charity Gala.
“Who’s in the Hall Wednesdays” is hosted on the first Wednesday of every month, and offers free admission after 5 p.m. to any sports fans who want to listen to a panel of sports speakers, get a chance for a photo with the Olympic torch and participate in a scavenger hunt.
Not only does the Hall of Fame offer educational programs at their facility, but they also have a program called “Beyond the Win” where Hall of Famers visit a school and teach students about their stories of overcoming obstacles. They also introduce them to the tools that made them successful.
The Hall of Fame is continually growing, as each year, a selection committee inducts a new class who will be preserved in Canadian Sports lore forever in Calgary.
Last year, the organization launched the Order of Sport Award, which is described as “Canada’s highest sporting honour [recognizing] the Inductees’ continuing role in building Canada through sport and the impact they have on their communities.”
The new crop of 2020 Hall of Famers will have their induction ceremony postponed to 2021 when they will hopefully all be able to come together to celebrate their accomplishments. The festival will include a ceremony honouring the Inductees with the Order of Sport Award.
The selection committee will follow guidelines set out by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors to choose which nominated sports contributors will join the extensive list of sports heroes.
In 2019, a class of eight Canadian athletes was inducted during an October celebration in Toronto.
One of those inductees was Doug Mitchell. The Calgary native was enshrined for his contributions to Canadian sport as a player in the Canadian Football League (CFL), the commissioner of the CFL, a member of Hockey Canada and a leader with multiple charity organizations.
Upon his induction, Mitchell said: “Sport has been the foundation of my life and [my] family. Most importantly, it taught me how to be a team player, to give others the credit due to them, and to share success with others.”
Mitchell continued to talk about how sport can lead to one’s success.
“If you want to succeed in life, in marriage, or in business, learn how to be a team player and eliminate those self-serving, selfish words: ‘me,’ ‘thee’ and ‘I’ and replace them with the very simple two-letter word, ‘we.’”
For every new inductee, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame has new paths to share and stories to tell — and with a new induction class each year, the Hall keeps growing and adding to the history of Canadian sport held inside.
Despite their doors remaining closed, the Hall of Fame will look to continue making an impact in the Calgary community throughout 2020 through their national outreach programs and special events.