Getting the Show on the Road: Media and publicity for the Jeux Canada Games
Promoting the Jeux Canada Games 1981
The host society of the Jeux Canada Games 1981 established a special Public Relations division to coordinate all media and publicity activities for the Games. The key objective of the Public Relations division was twofold: to provide a sound base for the revenue-producing program, and to increase public awareness of the benefits derived from the Games. The division established a comprehensive Public Relations information package in conjunction with Cockfield, Brown & Co. Ltd and managed all press conferences, media releases and promotional ventures serving as the official voice for the host society. The Public Relations division also established agreements with local newspapers to run front-page advertising for the Games, and coordinated a National Media Tour that took place in the early months of 1981.
In addition to these efforts, the host society commissioned Chetwynd Films of Toronto to produce a 40-minute documentary to capture the events of the Games. The purpose of the documentary was to promote sport in Canada and serve as a lasting record of the effort and achievement put into organizing the event. The film was screened at local libraries following the Games and was also aired on Maclean Hunter Cable 7 TV. Copies of the film were also created by the Lakehead Board of Education and it was shown to school children all over the region. Overall, the Canada Games attracted 15,000 visitors from the local community and from across the country, proving that the Public Relations division was successful in promoting awareness and garnering support for the Games.
Putting a Face to the Event
A great deal of attention was paid to the design of the logo, mascot and medals for the Jeux Canada Games 1981. The Jeux Canada Games logo, featuring the highly recognizable symbol now used by the Canada Games Complex, was designed by local commercial artist Ken Campbell of K.R. Campbell Communications Incorporated.
This logo was used on all official correspondence, media releases and souvenir items relating to the Games. Red was chosen as the colour for the symbol because of its connection to the maple leaf of the Canadian flag and its status as the official colour for Ontario. The central figure is surrounded by an ‘O’ for Ontario with three athletes for each branch of the maple leaf reflecting gold, silver and bronze. Ken Campbell was also the creator of the mascot for the Jeux Canada Games 1981, Choklit Moose. Local student Dan Stack was the winner of a competition devised to find a name for the mascot in January 1980. The medals awarded to winning athletes of the Games were designed by Gerry McEachern, a commercial artist local to the city of Thunder Bay. The design created by McEachern was intended to capture the symbolic significance of both Thunder Bay and the Canada Games by incorporating the unique Jeux Canada Games 1981 logo and the key identifying feature of Thunder Bay, the Sleeping Giant.