2023 Masters Indigenous Games opening gala to be held at Canadian Museum of History

OTTAWA — The 2023 Masters Indigenous Games (MIG) Organizing Committee were thrilled to announce that the Opening Gala will take place at the Canadian Museum of History, on the evening of Thursday, August 24, as a kick-off celebration to the highly anticipated event.

The 2023 MIG will take place in Ottawa, Ontario between August 24 and 27; with six sports for competition, including: Athletics, Basketball, Canoe or Kayak, Golf, Lacrosse and Volleyball.

The 2023 MIG Cultural Festival will take place at Lansdowne Park from Friday, August 25 to Sunday August 26, and will feature interactive sport demonstrations, an Indigenous marketplace, food trucks, a main stage showcasing Indigenous performers and immersive cultural experiences; the festival is free of charge and open to the public.

The Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year to its celebrated complex in the heart of the National Capital Region, making it the country’s most-visited museum. With roots stretching back to 1856, it is one of Canada’s oldest public institutions and a respected centre of museological excellence, sharing its expertise in history, archaeology, ethnology, and cultural studies both within Canada and abroad.

The Gala will take place in the spectacular Grand Hall, which showcases the traditional and contemporary art works of the vibrant Nations of the Pacific Coast of Canada. With its curving, six-storey window wall, symbolic design and unrivalled view of Parliament Hill, the Grand Hall is one of the country’s most impressive indoor public spaces and the Museum’s architectural centrepiece. Visitors will also discover six iconic Native houses connected by a Pacific Coast shoreline and boardwalk, magnificent totem poles, the original plaster pattern for Spirit of Haida Gwaii by celebrated Haida artist Bill Reid, and Raven Bringing Light to the World, a gold-on-bronze sculpture by Robert Davidson.

“The Canadian Museum of History is delighted to have been chosen to host this important event. It is an honour to be able to work so closely with the MIG Organizing Committee to welcome Indigenous athletes from around the world”, said Caroline Dromaguet, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “We hope that their time in the Museum’s Grand Hall, immersed in the history of First Peoples of the Pacific Coast’s rich history will serve as a source of inspiration for all who attend and participate in the 2023 Masters Indigenous Games”.

The Opening Gala will feature cultural and musical performances by world renown Indigenous artists, with a special emphasis on the rich heritage and diversity of Ontario’s Indigenous Peoples. Guests will also be able to tour two exhibitions during the Gala: First Peoples of the Northwest Coast and From Time Immemorial – Tsimshian Prehistory.

“It’s the perfect venue for this event,” says Christina Ruddy, Director of Events and Ceremonies, 2023 MIG. “It pays homage to past and present Indigenous communities, traditions, and histories, that have shaped Canada since time immemorial. The space is truly awe-inspiring and a great way to welcome Indigenous athletes and their families who will be attending the Games, from communities all over the world. Every Indigenous community’s story is diverse and rooted in history and in the land, and what better way to welcome our guests, than to immerse them in the history of our First Peoples, coupled with a celebration of the region’s Indigenous performers and artists.”

The 2023 Masters Indigenous Games Opening Gala will officially open the four-day event, with a celebration of Indigenous culture, art, and sport. Tickets for the Gala will be available for purchase to registered participants and their guests late February – but organizers warn that capacity is limited – so participants should purchase their tickets early.

“Space is limited, so we encourage athletes to purchase their tickets as early as possible,” says Marc Laliberte, Chair of the 2023 MIG Organizing Committee and President of Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO). “With a max capacity of approximately 800 guests, tickets will be available on a first come, first-serve basis, with a small number of tickets reserved for Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership, funders, and sponsors. It will be a night to remember and a wonderful way to connect with other Indigenous athletes from all over the world.”

The Masters Indigenous Games (MIG) were founded by Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO) to meet the growing need for competitive sport for the aging population. The Games encourage mature individuals to be active, with the awareness that competitive sport can continue throughout life, contributing to increased health and wellness. The inaugural MIG took place in Toronto, Ontario from July 12-15, 2018, providing an opportunity for Indigenous adults worldwide to engage in sport competition with their peers.

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