The Canada Winter Games are more than just a two-week celebration of the best of Canadian sport, arts and culture.
And it's not just Prince George which stands to benefit from hosting the 2015 Games.
These Games will leave a legacy for all of northern B.C. which is already creating opportunities for sport groups, coaches and officials.
MLAs Shirley Bond and Pat Bell revealed details Friday of $390,000 grant for the Northern Sport Strategy, a provincially-funded program administered by PacificSport Northern B.C., to pay for strength and conditioning equipment in Fort St. John and Prince George, coaching education and training, and it will promote physical activity initiatives in the smaller northern B.C. towns to get kids motivated.
"This is a gamechanger," said Anne Pousette, president of PacificSport Northern B.C.
"It allows us to develop the infrastructure of sport in northern B.C. and develop coaches who can then build their clubs and build their capacity for kids and adults as well to be involved in physical activity.
"It will bring in outside experts to help coaches gain those skills and it will allow communities to get equipment they don't have right now to take sport further. It's an opportunity for us to get people engaged in the idea of being active and learning skills that will take them through life to be active and healthier."
The strategy will also help northern B.C. athletes who are age-eligible for the Canada Winter Games by providing sport-specific training camps, athlete seminars and workshops, and performance enhancement and testing camps.
The Northern Sport Strategy grew out of a roundtable discussion in March 2011, which involved governments, provincial and municipal public servants, 2015 Games officials, community agencies, academic institutions, the private sector and sport leaders.
"The Northern Sport Strategy is a catalyst, and it's been something leaders like Anne Pousette and leaders from across the north have been asking for," said Bond. "It's about leaving a legacy."
The funding would not have been available if the city was not hosting the Games.
Bond said naysayers who think the Games are a waste of taxpayer dollars will change their tune once the Games arrive and the city begins to see the real impact of 15,000 visitors spending millions of dollars the city.
"We shouldn't underestimate the economic benefit of events like this, we're going to be on the national stage when the Games take place," said Bond.
"I'm convinced one of the reasons we won the bid, and the people who judged the bid said to us, that what really stood out for them was the impact of the northern approach that we took. This is bigger than just Prince George. We've had enormous success in gathering interest from other communities. It really is the chance of a lifetime."