Christina Lake is a serious contender for the title of Canada’s most active community, an honour that comes with $100,000 in cash for local fitness programs.
Around 1,700 nationwide communities have been vying for the top spot throughout June’s Community Better Challenge, according to the national fitness initiative and contest organizer, ParticipACTION. People in registered communities were invited to log their physical activity using the ParticipACTION app. The 50 communities with the most recorded hours are now in the competition’s final heat, with the winner to be announced near the end of July.
Donna Wilchinski, who entered the West Kootenay town on behalf of the Christina Gateway Association (Gateway), said she was “blown away” after lakers logged over 3 million hours of fitness last month.
“It’s mind-blowing and incredible,” she said.
In 2019, the contest winner went to the City of Enderby, which put in around 2 million hours. At just over 1,099 residents, Christina Lake was barely eligible to compete at all. Finishing at seventh-place, Wilchinski noted that the community consistently ranked among the top three spots as the contest wore on.
ParticipACTION will select the winner in a final process that largely boils down to communities’ written submissions. It now falls to people like Wilchinski to convince judges that their communities not only deserve the title, but that they would also put the $100,000 grand prize to the best use; to list but two selection criteria.
The winner will be announced sometime between July 26 and 29, Wilchinski said. She and Gateway’s Kelly Fletcher would put the prize money’s use to a community decision process in the event Christina Lake were to win.
Melina Van Hoogevest, who writes a weekly Parks and Rec column for The Gazette, has done much to popularize Christina Lake’s success throughout the Better Communities Challenge.