MNO President Gary Lipinski (right) with First Nations
ElderCat Criger at the Pan AM Games Team Canada
Welcome on July 8 in Toronto.In front of a sold out audience of 45,000 people and an international television audience in the millions, the 2015 Pan AM Games got off to a spectacular start with the Opening Ceremony at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Friday, July 10.
Just as with the Pan AM Torch arrival ceremony and throughout the Torch Relay, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) presence was very much felt during the Opening Ceremony.
In recognition of Métis traditional territories in Ontario, MNO President Gary Lipinski was a member of the official party of dignitaries at the ceremony. Other members of the party included Governor General David Johnston, several FirstOntario Premier Kathleen Wynne (center) with MNO
President Gary Lipinski (left) and his wife Dianne (right). Nations chiefs and representatives of the 41 countries participating in the games.
President Lipinski commented, “The Métis people of Ontario are excited to welcome athletes and other visitors from the Americas and the Caribbean to the games and share with them our unique history and culture. The 2015 Pan AM/Parapan AM Games are a once-in-lifetime opportunity for all of us here in Ontario to come together, celebrate and share our diversity, culture and dreams.”
The Opening Ceremony featured an incredible performance staged by Cirque du Soleil. With an international cast of 625 performers, representing 25 nationalities, the performance blended stagecraft, thrilling acrobatics and colourful cultural pageantry, as well as dance, and extreme sport.
Minister of Economic Development, Employment and
Infrastructure Brad Duguid (left) and MNO President Gary
Lipinski (right). The production celebrated the significant contributions of Canada, from First Nations and Métis people, to its growth as a nation, rich in diversity and contemporary culture.
Five MNO citizens performed in the Cirque du Soleil production. Dressed in traditional Métis clothing and using historic Métis artifacts including a canoe, Joanne Burt, Liam Blore, Alicia Blore, Christine Skura and Kyle Burton were featured in a sequence representing the important role of the Métis in the fur trade era.
Participating in the performance was a major commitment for the MNO crew. They started rehearsals at the beginning of May and in June attended two rehearsals a week as well as four full dress rehearsals in July.Chief Ava Hill of the Elected Council of the Six Nations of
the Grand River (right) and MNO President Gary Lipinsky
The games include not only athletic competitions but also cultural venues like the Aboriginal Pavilion, which are now in full swing. Performers at the Aboriginal Pavilion will include Métis artists Amanda Rheaume and Sierra Noble. Click here for more information about the Aboriginal Pavilion.
At the bottom of this page: MNO participants in the Pan AM Games Opening Ceremonies at a rehearsal at the Rogers Centre on July 8 (left-right): Joanna Burt, Liam Blore, Alicia Blore, Christine Skura and Kyle Burton.