2018 was truly a test of Regina’s ability to host major events, and one the city passed with flying colours. All the moving pieces required to make events like the Tim Hortons Brier or CP Women’s Open a success, from venues to hotel and restaurant accommodations, seemed to work together in harmony. However, Regina’s most valuable asset for ensuring the success of these events was, and continues to be, its people.
Volunteers from across the Greater Regina Area came together time and time again to support events and conventions in the city and ensure that visitors were greeted with a warm welcome, a friendly smile, and a patented Regina style of hospitality.
A Culture of Volunteerism
Bernadette McIntyre embodies Regina’s volunteer spirit. For decades she’s dedicated her time to supporting events of all sizes in the city, and currently works with Canada’s largest interconnected event venue Evraz Place as the Director of Community Relations and Volunteer Services.
“The volunteer base in Regina is fabulous,” said McIntyre. “We in Saskatchewan and Regina have a strong reputation for volunteering and always coming forward on a day-to-day basis for many causes and charities. But we really shine when we have major events.”
Teeing Off on the World Stage
McIntyre was able to observe Regina’s volunteer base firsthand this year when she co-chaired the LPGA CP Women’s Open in the city. The event required the support of more than 1,100 volunteers who came in droves to offer up their time and energy. Even more importantly perhaps, these volunteers created a uniquely welcoming experience.
“Ever since I first got here (Regina), it’s like the city, the club, and the province rolled out the red carpet for us, so you felt welcome,” said Bill Paul, Chief Championship Officer for Golf Canada. “They made you feel a part of their city and a part of their province. You just felt like it was going to be a success because of the way that people treated you…It’s been the most welcoming experience that I’ve ever had”.
A Winning Team
This type of rallying support isn’t new in Regina. Each year the city hosts a number of large-scale events like Canadian Western Agribition and the Queen City Marathon, which draw hundreds of volunteers. During football season, a veritable army of volunteer fan ambassadors bring an unmatched level of service and energy to every Saskatchewan Roughriders game. Whether an event is in need of ten volunteers or a thousand, the Regina community consistently delivers.
“I think part of it is the prairie hospitality, we have a reputation for that,” said McIntyre. “For any volunteer, they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be part of a winning team. The way they can be part of a huge success is to volunteer and be part of that team.”
Regina’s Eventful Year
Regina’s prairie hospitality shone in 2018, as the city hosted more major events than ever before. Over the span of just six months the city took on the Tim Hortons Brier, the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup, The Congress for Humanities and Social Sciences, and the CP Women’s Open, which was broadcasted to more than 500 million viewers. This momentum continues to grow as Regina prepares for more than 20 events already scheduled at Evraz Place’s Brandt Centre in 2019. The city has also submitted a bid to host the Grey Cup in 2020 at the new world-class Mosaic Stadium. According the McIntyre, this is just the beginning.
“We’re still growing, and we’ve set ourselves on the stage as being a community that can host almost anything.”