The Social Economy and a Special Event: Community Involvement in the Whitehorse 2007 Canada Winter Games


  • Margaret Johnston Lakehead University
  • G. David Twynam Thompson Rivers University


This article is premised on the idea that our understanding of the social economy can be developed through an examination of community engagement in a special sporting event. It explores the extent to which hosting a special event in Whitehorse, Yukon provided involvement opportunities for community members, and it explores the related outcomes for individuals and the community. The particular nature and attributes of Whitehorse as a northern community and the nature of the event-the Canada Winter Games-set the context for how the community and its members engaged with the event. The research explored involvement with the event in order to come to an understanding of specific outcomes in Whitehorse, and in relation to special events in the social economy more generally. Findings indicate increasingly positive assessments of the Games' impacts and resident involvement in the event through support, attendance, and volunteering. The highest-ranked motivations for volunteering suggest a strong connection to the event, linked in with the opportunity to contribute to the wider community goals of hosting the event. The findings of the study reiterate the importance of considering the local context of the social economy when exploring its expression through a special event. The basis for this article is a longitudinal research project that includes surveys, focus groups, and interviews in the community, with an emphasis on event volunteers.

Author Biographies

Margaret Johnston, Lakehead University

Margaret Johnston is professor in the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at Lakehead University.

G. David Twynam, Thompson Rivers University

Dave Twynam is dean of the School of Tourism at Thompson Rivers University.






Special Collection Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)