© Cory Hurley
Jessica MacDonald of Corner Brook poses with the North West Territories jacket she was able to obtain through trading at the 2013 Canada Summer Games.
CORNER BOOK — Jessica MacDonald believes she was not just an ambassador of Newfoundland and Labrador’s francophones at the 2013 Canada Summer Games, but the entire province.
The Corner Brook woman, a student at Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia, was chosen to represent her province as a francophone ambassador in conjunction with the cultural days held Aug. 3-5. She travelled to Sherbrooke, Que. Aug. 1 and returned home Saturday. She said she was able to educate many people about the francophone history, and presence, in Newfoundland.
“We asked many people if they know there were francophones outside of Quebec, and most didn’t, especially in Newfoundland,” MacDonald said. “It was pretty cool being from the province where not many knew that French even existed.”
Although, pleased with how she represented the French heritage of her home province, she said the experience went beyond the primary reason she was brought to the Games. Newfoundland and Labrador is highly regarded by many people throughout the country as a tourism destination, she said, and she saw a lot of interest from that perspective too.
“There were so many people who said they heard about how beautiful Newfoundland is, and they had visited or wanted to come visit,” she said.
For MacDonald, a 2011 Canada Games athlete in synchronized swimming, she cherished the opportunity to be a spectator and volunteer this time around. She said that side of things provided a completely different experience than 2011 in Halifax, N.S. Her volunteer duties included performing security around campus and she was able to watch events such as basketball, volleyball, and softball. Being a part of the Games again was a proud moment for her, so much so she found herself taking in some of the live television coverage on her way back home.
“Normally, I would never watch basketball on TV,” she said. “I don’t like sports on TV at all. Being there, and then watching it, was completely different. No matter what province it was, you were still cheering on your country, so I didn’t mind.”
MacDonald said she made some great friends with the ambassadors from the other provinces, and has memories she believes will last forever. The experience will also be of great benefit to her personally. She said her French has improved with a week of being in Quebec, and her appreciation of the francophone history and presence throughout the country has grown.