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British Empire Games/Commonwealth Games Introduction
Canada played a leading role in developing the world-class multi-sport competition now known as the Commonwealth Games. Organizers first promoted athletic competitions to foster unity across the British Empire in the late nineteenth century. A Canadian veteran of the First World War, Melville Marks Robinson revived the idea in the late 1920's as a peaceful alternative to multi-sport competitions that fuelled tense international rivalries by prizing the prestige of winning over sportsmanship and fair play.
Athletic competition at the inaugural British Empire Games, staged in Hamilton, Ontario in 1930 strengthened diplomatic bonds between participating nations. The competition subsequently became a recurring international event, typically held every four years in different Commonwealth nations. Canada hosted 'the friendly games' again in Vancouver in 1954, Edmonton in 1978 and Victoria in 1994. Each competition reflected Canada's evolving identity as an independent nation-state, and the changing nature of the Commonwealth itself as an international community.