Jeux du Québec
Plans for the Jeux du Québec were drawn up in the late sixties. Québec amateur sports stakeholders then proposed holding a competition that would stimulate interest in sports into the farthest reaches of the province. They wanted to provoke large-scale participation in the widest possible range of sports in the hope that youth would engage in more of these physical activities. At the same time, they wanted to encourage the leaders of each host-city to increase the number of sports facilities. Social and cultural activities were added to the athletic competitions.
The first regional finals were organized as of 1970, and the first provincial finals began during the summer of '71 in Rivière-du-Loup. The first provincial finals of the Winter Games were held in 1972 in Montréal.
The principle of these Games is simple. Those in charge divide the province into 18 regions where everything begins. Qualifying heats take place there every year to select the athletes who will proceed to the big provincial finals. Initially held annually, the provincial finals (summer and winter) now take place biannually.
Sports-Québec defines and supervises the framework of the Games in close collaboration with sporting federations and regional organizations. The organization of each final is entrusted to a committee set up in the host city which must, among other things, house and feed the athletes and provide the equipment needed for their competitions. Government authorities, financial institutions and private companies take part in funding these Games.
From 1970 to 2000, more than 2 500 000 young people with an average age of 14 took part in the regional and provincial finals (18 summer and 17 winter) in some forty sports.
Even if the games appealed to the masses in the early years, this competition has become a springboard for youth wanting to pursue their careers on a national or international level. Moreover, the Games' mission has changed since its 1970 inception. Although initially contributing to the development of sports themselves, the Games are now intended as a program aiming to develop athletic excellence. Most athletes with international distinction have gone through the Jeux du Québec, which today make up part of Québec's sports heritage.