Alberta World Cup Cross Country 2020

An Arts and Cultural Legacy


The 2020 World Cup Cross Country Season Finale that was scheduled for March 20-22 in Canmore was planned to be a celebration of culture and arts and an opportunity to connect communities, be they cultural, artistic or athletic.  The event was about coming together and celebrating.  We regret that this coming together of arts, culture and sport was not given a chance to be broadcast to the world.  To give you a flavour of what we had planned, here are some highlights that you can enjoy in these difficult times.


Leela Gilday

An original song commissioned for the Alberta World Cup 2020 Cross Country.


Working with the Canmore Folk Music Festival, an original song was commissioned with help from the SOCAN Foundation.  Leela Gilday wrote and performed the song “Giants”.

According to Leela:  “The song “Giants” was inspired by the idea that we are strong because we are connected to our ancestors, that their blood flows through our veins, and we are more powerful than we can imagine. It is the first time I have used my spoken language in a song. The meaning of the Dene words is:                           Our ancestors that are inside of us

They were very strong

and very powerful”

If you are from the North, no matter from what part of the World, Leela Gilday’s music is home.  If you’ve never been, it will take you there.  Born and raised in the Northwest Territories, she writes about the people and the land that created her.  The power in her voice conveys the depth of her feelings of love and life in a rugged environment and vibrant culture, as if it comes straight from that earth. Leela’s family is from Deljne on the shore of Great Bear Lake and her rich vocals dance across the rhythmic beats of traditional Dene Drumming.


Tim Murphy – Canmore Poet Laureate

An original Poem and spoken word piece commissioned

for the Alberta World Cup Cross Country 2020

Tim Murphy – Run

Tim was scheduled to present his poem “Run” at the opening ceremonies on Thursday, March 19th.  Of course, with the cancellation due to Covid-19, that did not happen.  However, on that evening Tim recorded this performance at the Canmore Artsplace – to an empty theatre.  The poem speaks for itself and connects beautifully with the song, the traditional dancing and the outdoor art installationsTim Murphy is the current Poet Laureate of Canmore, Alberta. He is a retired carpenter and an avid skier and mountain biker. He grew up in North Carolina and graduated from Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida in 1977.  In 1978 he immigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then moved to Canmore in 1992 where he has built many homes in and around the area.  Tim has published more than 30 poems in various journals and anthologies.  His work has been translated into Greek and Chinese.  He is a frequent stage performer and author of one chap-book titled “Up Cape Fear,” available at You can view more of his poetry at https://


Pow Wow Academy Dancers

Morley Community School

“Dance with a Good Heart”

Morley Community School is located on the Stoney Nakoda Reserve in Morley, Alberta. Morley Pow wow academy is a high school class where students can earn 9 credits throughout the school year in fashion, dance and leadership.  Participants attend pow wows and do various performances from community events, art shows, book launches and conferences.  Students use this class to create regalia through beading and sewing. They practice dancing pow wow as an individual and as well as a group dance.  They create their own choreography dances which are performed in front of a live audience.

There are currently 14 students registered in this class. As we are now able to begin our healing journey towards truth and reconciliation, this academy provides or supports our students with the teachings of our culture, identity and pride. Dancing and being part of the pow wow circle is an honour and takes a lot of dedication. Physically a dancer needs endurance, strength, grace, rhythm and agility. Mentally a dancer needs to understand the protocols, stories and teachings for each style of dance. Spiritually, a dancer’s regalia become part of the dancer’s spirit learning these teaching are vital before entering the pow wow circle. Once in the pow wow circle, a dancer will experience gratification, confidence, fulfillment, and an emotional healing process takes place.  Pow wow dancers bring identity, pride and honour to their community and family. Pow wow dancing gives our students confidence and strength. They feel most proud and confident when they dance, it brings pride to our school and community.

The Pow Wow Academy Dancers were scheduled to “Dance with a good Heart” at the World Cup opening ceremonies.   Along with the Pow Wow Academy Dancers, Stoney Nakoda elders were going to provide a traditional blessing for the event, the community and the participants.


Art Walk in the Woods

Town of Canmore and Local Arts Community

Art Walk in the Woods is an art installation that connects downtown Canmore to the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park along the Legacy Trail Extension to the Nordic Centre. This year’s collection features six different temporary art installations that inspire curiosity and a sense of playfulness while celebrating the power of sport and culture in the Bow Valley.   The installations were in place before the Covid 19 crisis – so we are still able to get out and enjoy this walk.

Take a Digital Walk in the Woods