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Closing Ceremonies: Final Goodbyes

A group of Canadian female athletes hold signs with the names of their hometowns on the floor at B.C. Place Stadium during Closing Ceremonies.

Canadian registrants at the Closing Ceremonies, August 11, 1990.

On August 11th, Director Mark Mees was crossing the Cambie Street Bridge on his way to the Closing Ceremonies. Fewer tickets had been sold than they’d hoped. That meant that despite the success of the Games the board would be facing a new challenge the next day. Mees remembers his exhaustion and the inevitable let down that happens when something you’ve worked on for years abruptly ends. He looked northeast towards the stadium and was surprised to see the wide arc of a rainbow descending towards B.C. Place. [1] It was a fitting tribute to Celebration ‘90. 

The Lesbian and Gay Bands of America perform on the floor of B.C. Place Stadium at the Closing Ceremonies. Banners for the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps and the Flamingo Freedom Band dominate the foreground.

The Lesbian and Gay Bands of America perform.

Inside the stadium that evening, The Lesbian and Gay Bands of America and cheerleading squads – the Bay Area Raw Rahs and the Seattle Cheerleaders – started the celebration. Greetings from Federal Minister of Justice, The Honourable Kim Campbell, were followed by the Gay Games III Parade of Champions.

The crowd enthusiastically greets the athletes on parade at B.C. Place Stadium.

The crowd greets the athletes as they enter B.C. Place Stadium.

The Spades team pose at the Closing Ceremonies.

The Spades Team

Athletes kid around and pose atop a multi-tiered podium at the Closing Ceremonies set up for last-minute photo-ops at the Closing Ceremonies.

Athletes kid around and pose for last-minute photo-ops at the Closing Ceremonies.

Once the athletes had assembled on the field  M.C. Robin Tyler took to the podium and said her final goodbye. The Celebration ’90 Festival Chorus performed “Esperanto”, co-written by Canadians Joëlle Rabu (soloist) and Douglas Dodd.

Over 70 members of the Celebration '90 Festival Chorus, in uniform black pants and white shirts, are assembled on a tiered riser on the stage at B.C. Place Stadium. Carole White conducts their vocal performance at the Closing Ceremonies.

Carol White conducts The Celebration ’90 Festival Chorus.

Soloist Joelle Rabu sings at the Celebration '90 Closing Ceremonies with chorus pictured behind her.

Joëlle Rabu performs solo.


Sarah Lewinstein, The Tom Waddell Award recipient and Gay Games co-founder Paul Mart, Brent Nicholson Earle, and Robert Neyts, the Vancouverite who conceived of the award and raised the funds for the Dr. Tom Waddell Trophy. On stage at Celebration' 90 Closing Ceremonies at B.C. Place Stadium, August 11, 1990.

Sara Waddell Lewinstein, honoree Paul Mart, Brent Nicholson Earle, and Robert Neyts.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of The Tom Waddell Award. The award was the idea of Vancouverite Robert Neyts, a member of Vancouver’s  leather community. He spearheaded the fundraising for the trophy’s manufacture as well. The award was officially endorsed by the Federation of Gay Games and is the highest honor awarded to volunteers and activists in the Gay Games mission.  Tom Waddell’s widow and LGBTQ2S+ activist, Sara Waddell Lewinstein, presented the award. The inaugural honoree was co-founder of the Gay Games, Paul Mart. Mart was a war hero, professional rodeo performer, Hollywood stunt person, and legend in the Gay Games movement.  

Executive Director, Mark Mees, took to the podium for his final public act of Celebration ’90 – officially declaring the Games closed.

View this video with a transcription: “Official Close of Celebration ’90”



[1] CDMLA interview with Mark Mees, 2019.