From ship to shore, the Opening Ceremony kicked off the Halifax 2011 Canada Games in true Nova Scotia style tonight, Feb. 11 as Prime Minister Stephen Harper proclaimed the Games officially open. Inspired by the sea and produced by Patrick Roberge Productions, the ceremony showcased Nova Scotia’s best athletes and talent. “I can’t remember a time when Nova Scotians were so excited. There’s an electricity in the air — a mix of pride, excitement and anticipation — that I expect will build with each day of the Games,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly welcomed the nation to Halifax while award winning Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk sang the new Canada Games song Supersonic, a song that speaks to passion and discipline of the participants of the Games. “Let these Canada Games be a driving force for change in you. Learn from these Games, put your heart into these Games, open yourself up to the opportunities of these Games,” said Canada Games Council chairman, Tom Quinn during an he address to the athletes. “You won’t be sorry.” A highlight of the show was the lighting of the cauldron — a culmination of a provincewide torch program that saw close to 50,000 Nova Scotian youth touch the torch. The four 2011 Canada Games torches were brought to Metro Centre by Chanel Mazerolle, Gentrey Thomas, Maggie Jane MacDonald and Doug Johnson, representating the Acadian, African, Gaelic and Mi’kmaq — the four founding cultures of Nova Scotia. The torches came together to light the Canada Games Roly McLenahan Torch, held by Paralympic gold medalist in sailing,Paul Tingley of Halifax. The cauldron was finally lit by crew of the Barque PictonCastle, a tall ship training vessel from Lunenburg. A number of Canada Games alumni were honourary flag bearers for the ceremony: Jennifer Botterill, Olympic gold medalist in hockey; Richard Dalton, Olympian in Sprint Canoe; Track Olympian Adrienne Power; Sue Holloway, a summer and winter Olympian; and Olympian and world champion curler, Colleen Jones of Halifax. In addition to performances by Grand Derangement, JRDN, Rich Aucoin, The Stadacona Band, and The Stanfields, the Trews performed their single Sing Your Heart Out and Jimmy Rankin performed My Only Wish. Local dancers performed with members of Atlantic Cirque. “You remind us of rewards for battles we all fought, on the ice or court or field or off, those tingles in our skin that some of us forgot,” said spoken word artist Tanya Davis during an address to the athletes. “So we will cheer from the stands, ’cause without our eyes, our clapping hands, these games could not be played. It takes a community to raise such a stage,” said Ms. Davis. Federal, provincial, and municipal dignitaries were present at the ceremony, including Jean-Paul Deveau, chair of the 2011 Canada Games; Minister of Health and Wellness Maureen MacDonald; Minister of Defence Peter MacKay; Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn; Chuck Bridges, vice-chair of the 2011 Canada Games; president and CEO of the Canada Games Council Sue Hylland; Games CEO Chris Morrissey; and Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis. Patrick Roberge Productions, which has produced shows for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, previous Canada Games and the 2010 Grey Cup Halftime Show partnered with Halifax-based Pilot Light Productions to assemble the ceremonies’ diverse musical acts. Other key cultural components of the Games include the National Artist Program, free entertainment at Celebration Square in Grand Parade and the Closing Ceremony with tickets now on sale. The 2011 Canada Winter Games is the largest multi-sport event held in Nova Scotia and Halifax’s first Canada Winter Games. Held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, the Canada Games are a key event in the development of Canada’s young athletes, producing the next generation of national, international and Olympic champions.