Traditional Games & Sports Parks

Models from here to elsewhere

With a view to relaunching the City of World Games project in Quebec, it is essential to provide a definition of traditional sports and games, but also to present some places from the conversation and transmission of the culture of games and of the movement which are models of development in the world.

Traditional Games and Sports: deep roots

According to TAFISA (The Association for International Sports for All), traditional games and sports provide unique opportunities that popular sports do not. They are often based on fun and participation, not competition. They make a connection to something that is beyond what sport and physical activity can provide.

Literally, these are games and movements from our traditional cultures. More than that, they constitute a significant part of our history and participate in the creation of our cultural identity. Traditional games and sports tell the story of our part and bring us all together.

Traditional playgrounds and sports around the world: inspiring models   

Places dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of recreational heritage come in a variety of forms across the globe. Le Moulin à vent Productions has had the opportunity to discover several of them during exploratory missions during its participation in international festivals of traditional games and sports. Several world-renowned establishments from which Le Moulin à vent Productions is inspired as a development model are presented here:

  •  The Gerlev Playground in Slagelse, Denmark.
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    Gerlev Legepark is a knowledge centre for the play and movement culture. On the basis of its rich experience in game culture, Gerlev Legepark develops different forms of game distribution, ranging from research distribution, in collaboration with today’s University of Southern Denmark, to courses on the qualities of games, to workshops and game events. A variety of activities where people have had the opportunity to discover, since 1983, the universal joy of the game movement. Le Moulin à vent Productions visited Gerlev Legepark in 2008 and sent an animator to Gerlev Legepark in 2009.
  •  The Divo-Grad Park (Диво-Град) in Moscow, Russia.
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    The Divo Games Association, created in 2001, develops services in the field of education, culture, science, for a more complete development of the young generation on the basis of the renewal of the traditional and modern game culture. Its unique complex, a folklore playground in the heart of Moscow, has been developed on the basis of playground constructions of the past centuries (18th-20th century) and adapted to modern conditions. Le Moulin à vent Productions was inspired by Диво-Град for the design of its traditional Russian Swing and the Flying Race Carousel.
  •  La Ferme Galamé – traditional games farm in Loon-Plage, France.

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    The association of Traditional Games and World Games “Wellouej” located in the north of France has been commissioned by the municipality of Loon-Plage to set up a cultural facility for the Traditional Flemish Games. Since 2009, it has been managing this facility and its programming, enabling it to continue its mission of promoting and safeguarding the heritage of traditional games. le Moulin à vent Productions took part in the Rencontres Ludiques 2004 in France in 2004 in the company of Wellouej.
  • The National Capital of Traditional Games in San-Marcos Santa-Barbara, Honduras.
    SMSB_Parc2 SMSB_Collectif SMSB_Agua SMSB_Soccer (2) SMSB_Cheval SMSB_Papelote (2)
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    The eco-cultural, educational and recreational association “Mi Tierra Catracha” annually celebrates traditional games in San-Marcos with its renowned Festival Nacional y Internacional de Juegos Tradicionales. Its mission is to promote traditional games inside and outside Honduras and to fight to enable Hondurans to have access to education, culture and leisure in a harmonious and healthy environment. In May 2019, 15 years after the Honduran delegation was welcomed to Montreal, le Moulin à vent Productions was the special guest of the 20th edition of this festival in the National Game Capital.

Traditional Games and Sports in Quebec: places that are still too short-lived 

Aside from the 2008/2009 pilot project of the City of World Games operated outdoors at Val-Morin in the Laurentians by le Moulin à vent Productions, Quebec has only a few short-lived venues dedicated to heritage games. The Salon d’Antan, an old-fashioned games room, hosted for the past 3 years by the Pavillon des Arts et de la Culture de Coaticook is a rare example.

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Indeed, permanent parks entirely dedicated to Traditional Sports and Games, as visited or consulted by le Moulin à vent Productions around the world (Gerlev Legepark in Daenmark, San-Marcos Santa-Barbara National Capital of Traditional Games in Honduras, Ferme Galamé – Traditional Games Farm  in France, Divo-Grad Park in Russia, Sportimonium Traditional Games Garden in Belgium) do not exist in Quebec.

Traditional Games and Sports in Canada: Lively Inuit and Dene Games

Indigenous People of Canada, Métis, and Inuit are the only people who are truly promoting traditional games and sports in Canada today. Through an increasing number of educational programs in their schools and communities. For example, the Indigenous Games for Children Ressource is a collection of Indigenous People of Canada games and activities to help first-time leaders reintroduce or reconnect children to recreational and sports activities that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples across Canada. The Arctic Winter Games and the Dene Games are the spaces where this tradition continues.