Thunder Bay

Westgate high school students in Thunder Bay build cauldron for Special Olympics Canada Winter Games

Over the last year, students in the SHSM Manufacturing Class at Westgate Collegiate have been busy designing and building an eight-foot tall cauldron to be used at the upcoming Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

Grade 12 students part of 'collaborative effort' to build and design cauldron for winter games

Noah Robinson, Aidan Merchant, and Colin Grant have worked hard to manufacture the a cauldron for the Special Olympics Winter Games in Thunder Bay. (Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Thunder Bay 2020)

Students at Westgate Collegiate have been hard at work designing and building a cauldron for the upcoming Special Olympics Canada Winter Games. 

The new cauldron will be officially revealed at the opening ceremonies of the games on February 25, 2020 and will be lit by the Law Enforcement Torch to signify the start of the week-long event. 

"We went through a lot of different ideas of what we wanted the final product to look like, we sort of started to mimic the Stanley Cup," said grade 12 student Colin Grant. 

Community project rewarding for students 

Aidan Marchant and Noah Robinson were also involved in designing the eight-foot tall cauldron. They said the experience has been eye opening when it comes to deciding on their post-secondary career. 

"For the longest time I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I think that now after I made this, I really enjoyed it, and working in manufacturing is probably what I'm going to go into," said Marchant.

Mike Lemieux, Lead Teacher of SHSM manufacturing at the school says working on a community project like the cauldron is always rewarding for students. 

"It encompasses the community," said Lemieux. "The kids get invested in it, they want to be able to do it, and they see how it impacts the community when it's done."

The project has been made possible with support from a number of different entities around Thunder Bay, including Enbridge who has helped to prepare the cauldron for when it is ignited. 

A true 'collaborative effort'

John Gould, field supervisor at Enbridge, has been assisting the students with the technical aspects of the cauldron to ensure they meet safety parameters in order to be certified through the Technical Safety Standards Authority. 

Gould says he has never worked on a project like this one before and was happy to collaborate alongside the students, especially since volunteering with the Special Olympics during the 2011 winter games.

"When this opportunity came about I jumped at the chance," he said.

Gould said the burner being used in the cauldron is equivalent to two or three home furnaces, and is designed to look like fire one would see in a fire-pit. 

Organizers with the games say the work put into building the cauldron has been a true "collaborative effort."

"In 2011 we didn't have a live (cauldron) so it was something we really wanted to see come true," said Julie Tilbury, member of the Games Organizing Committee. "Everything that this community has done to try to come together to put these games on has been outstanding."

Tilbury said the building of the cauldron was set into motion shortly after Thunder Bay secured the bid to host the games over a year ago.