Alberta is a pioneer in the area of sport, recreation, and fitness development for seniors. In 1976, a group of seniors, operating as the Calgary Recreation and Culture Association, introduced a Seniors Games program called 60+ OL’LYMPYX for Calgary seniors. This project was the seed of the idea from which this Association and the Alberta Seniors Games developed.
In 1979 and 1980, with the inclusion of 60+ age categories in the Alberta Summer and Winter Games, a senior’s presence was established on the Alberta Games scene. During these formative years, key members of what was to become the Alberta Senior Citizens Sport and Recreation Association (ASCSRA) travelled the province at their own expense to promote the concept to existing seniors clubs and drop-in centres. These dedicated seniors talked to anyone who would listen, including senior members of the Alberta government.
In January 1980, the ALBERTA SENIOR CITIZENS SPORT AND RECREATION ASSOCIATION was formed. The first Alberta Seniors Games followed in the same year at Camrose as a 75th anniversary project. They were held in August for seniors over 55 years of age and involved over 800 participants. These first Games were so successful and so impressed the premier and his ministers that the Minister of Recreation and Parks authorized the holding of regular Seniors Games every second year. Games have since been held in Camrose in 1982 and 1984, in Grande Prairie in 1986, in Vermilion in 1988, in Hinton in 1990, in Medicine Hat in 1992, in Lacombe in 1994, in St. Paul in 1996, in Three Hills in 1998, in Olds/Didsbury in 1999, Lethbridge in 2001, and Fort McMurray in 2003. The inaugural Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games were held in Edmonton, 2005, and the 2005 Alberta Seniors Games were held in Wetaskiwin, 2005.
Fort Saskatchewan held the Alberta Summer Games in 2007. In 2007, our name changed from the acronym ASCSRA to Alberta 55 Plus!
In February of 2009, the city of Lethbridge is proudly hosting the Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games. The city of Airdrie is hosting the Summer Games in July, 2009. Recently, the 2011 Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games were awarded to Fairview, with St. Albert winning with their bid to host the 2011 Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games.
Over the years, members of Alberta 55 Plus have been actively involved in promoting a Senior Games at the national level. Their determination provided the impetus for the incorporation of the Canada Senior Games Association in 1991. The first-ever Canada Senior Games was held in Regina, Saskatchewan from September 11 to 15, 1996, followed by a second national Game in Medicine Hat, Alberta, August 19 to 22, 1998. Summerside, Prince Edward Island, hosted the third Canada Senior Games in September 2002. The 2004 Canada Senior Games was hosted by Whitehorse, Yukon from September 1 to 5, 2004. The last Canada Senior Games was hosted by Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, 2006. The 2008 Canada 55 Plus Games took place in Dieppe, New Brunswick, with team Alberta sending over 300 participants and winning over 250 medals! The 2010 Canada 55 Plus Games were awarded to Brockville, Ontario.