Natasha Doiron has competed at the Finale des Jeux de l’Acadie before, but now, the event is coming to her.
The Jeux de l’Acadie, billed as the largest celebration of Acadian and Francophone youth in Atlantic Canada, will be held in Halifax and Dartmouth starting Saturday as the event comes to Nova Scotia for the first time in its 29-year history.
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“Normally, we have the long trip to New Brunswick, but this time, we’ll actually get people from New Brunswick to come here,” said Doiron, a 15-year-old track-and-field athlete from Dartmouth.
“It’s a way to show off what we have.”
The Jeux de l’Acadie has been held in New Brunswick 26 times and in Prince Edward Island twice.
Doiron is one of 1,100 athletes aged 10 to 16 who will compete at the Jeux de l’Acadie. The event is also expected to draw 2,000 parents and is organized by 800 volunteers.
“It’s like an English province here,” said Doiron, who just finished her Grade 9 year at Ecole du Carrefour.
“It’s really great to show other people that we do have French people in Nova Scotia. New Brunswick can come and join us and we can show off how French we can be.”
Event president Roger Arsenault said the Jeux de l’Acadie is important for Francophone youth because it’s “more than a sporting event. It’s a cultural event.”
Competition begins on Saturday morning, with the opening ceremonies open to the public on Saturday night at Exhibition Park. The event wraps up on Canada Day.