In the summer of 1994, Victoria hosted the XV Commonwealth Games. One of the motivations for winning the bid for the games was that the federal government had offered a $10 million fund to be allocated to sport development post games.
The Games left capital legacies; the Commonwealth Pool in Saanich, the upgraded stadium and track at the University of Victoria, and the Velodrome at Juan de Fuca.
The financial legacy of the Games included the $10M from the Government of Canada, which was added to a Games operating surplus of $5.5M. At the conclusion of the Games, the Victoria Commonwealth Games Society gifted the funds to a set of sister societies:
The CCLF (Canada Commonwealth Legacy Fund) - charged with managing and growing the fund, and;
The CCSD (Commonwealth Centre for Sport Development) - charged with spending the interest from the funds through the creation of a multisport development centre in Victoria.
The launch phase of the CCSD was led by President Ken Shields in 1994-1996. Partnerships with sport were struck between National, Provincial and local groups to create National Training Centres funded primarily by the CCSD and the respective National Sport Organizations. National Training Centres were created for cycling, swimming, rugby and middle distance athletics.
In addition, the CCSD provided a range of services for athletes and coaches working under the CCSD umbrella.
In 1998 Roger Skillings succeeded Ken as President and oversaw a rebranding of the CCSD to PacificSport and the 3 Waves of Excellence. The National Triathlon Centre was launched in 1999, and within the year Simon Whitfield won Olympic gold at the Sydney Olympics.
From 1998 to 2008 PacificSport played a lead role in developing programs and powering elite performances. For example, in 2004-2005 Victoria boasted 294 registered high performance athletes, led by 41 coaches within 6 National Training Centres and 11 Regional Training Centres.
Heading in to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, PacificSport was leveraged to create a provincial organization ready to receive and implement an expected legacy from the 2010 Games, however the 2008 financial crisis halted this vision. Also at this time PacificSport was the key partner, with Camosun College, in visioning and building the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE).
In 2012 the CCLF (led by Chair Peter Webster and Larry Bell), the sister society responsible for managing the legacy fund, was dissolved, with the legacy fund transferred to PacificSport.
Today the society, under the new brand 94 FORWARD, continues to execute on its mandate by providing funding to high performance sport in the Victoria Region. The legacy fund is over $20M, and 94 FORWARD is poised for a series of announcements of new partnerships with sport.
The legacy of the 94 Commonwealth Games thrives!