Check out Monday's Citizen for a feature story by Jason Peters as Prince George marks 500 days until the opening ceremonies of the Canada Winter Games.
The story takes a look at what's been done, what's in progress and what still needs to happen before February 12, 2015. What's clear is the sheer magnitude of the Games and how Prince George will be transformed before, during and after.
The number of athletes competing in Prince George in February 2015 will be more than half of the number of competitors that took part in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Even if Prince George were to one day host the Brier, the Memorial Cup or even the World Junior Hockey Championships, they would all still pale in size to the Canada Winter Games.
Major events like the Scott Tournament of Hearts, the Royal Bank Cup, the World Baseball Challenge, the B.C. Seniors Games and the Road to the Roar needed hundreds of volunteers. The Canada Winter Games needs thousands of volunteers.
The budgets for those events were six figures or low seven figures. The budget for the Canada Winter Games is in the tens of millions.
Multi-million dollar upgrades are in progress or scheduled for Tabor Mountain, the Otway Nordic Centre, the Outdoor Ice Oval and the Kin Centres. A six-figure spruce up of the Civic Centre Plaza is also planned.
There's a tone of nervous excitement in the debut column from Canada Winter Games board chair Anthony Everett, which starts Monday and will appear monthly leading up to the Games. He obviously appreciates the enormity of this undertaking but he sees the potential as well for Prince George to shine in a way it never has before on the provincial and national stage.
The rarity of being the host city can't be understated. B.C. has never hosted a Canada Winter Games. The province will likely not host another one for nearly half a century and when it does, it will likely go to another community.
With 500 days to go, it's time to buckle up and get serious.
Prince George will have a chance like never before to tell its story to the rest of Canada.
It would be a shame to waste such a glorious opportunity.