Why the Prince Edward Islanders are still wearing this Canada Games jacket 32 years later
Keep your eyes peeled over the next two weeks and you might see one of Prince Edward Islanders’ most iconic garments: the green and white jackets adorned with the Canada Games logo above the heart and presented to them Volunteers in 1991.
Yes, these nylon jackets have been around for 32 years and they’re still going strong.
One place to find them is at the center of a 1991 Canada Games memorabilia exhibit put together by Don Murnaghan at the Eastlink Center in Charlottetown.
The Charlottetown Hockey Memorabilia Room displays hundreds of hockey artifacts Murnaghan has collected over the years.
But he is pleased to have assembled an impressive collection of items from the 1991 Canadian Winter Games.
He began by contacting the 500 members of a Facebook group dedicated to the 1991 Canada Games volunteer jackets made by Shain of Canada.
“I called a number of people and said, ‘I’m hoping to put on an exhibition of the 1991 games. Would you be willing to lend or donate your items?’ And I’ve had an excellent response,” Murnaghan said.
“We pretty much have all the key items from 1991: the iconic jacket that you see everywhere, the sweaters, especially the pins – these are collectibles.
The idea of putting it out there and letting people see the items I found exciting for those people
– Don Murnaghan
“The Walkman has the original march-in song for the 1991 games, so that’s unique too. The idea of launching it and letting people see the items was exciting for those people, I think.”
The jacket is the obvious centerpiece of the 1991 displays.
“I think maybe the fact that there aren’t many left and it’s a unique jacket is associated with the Games,” Murnaghan said.
“The people who have them love to wear them. I mean you will see them all over Charlottetown or all of PEI and they wear them with pride. It’s quite interesting.”
One of the most difficult items to find was the games’ little mascot, a little plush beaver.
“That was difficult. Some people had them, but they decided they didn’t want to part with them,” Murnaghan said.
“A mother had one for me, but the daughter was so upset that we thought it was a display that she didn’t want to part with it, which is kinda cute.”
Stu Dunn started the Facebook group dedicated to the 1991 volunteer jackets.
He is also Operations Manager at the Eastlink Center where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games will be held and was a goaltender for the 1991 PEI men’s ice hockey team.
“Actually, I started out on my own personal Facebook. I posted sightings of the jacket and it became so popular that we decided to open it up to other users and it kind of took off from there,” Dunn said.
“It was just hard to believe that the jacket has been around for so long. Believe it or not, I’ve had sightings as far away as Manitoba that people have posted.”
“It’s a 32-year-old jacket and it’s really become a story in its own right and it’s been a lot of fun for people,” Dunn said.
“I get random calls and texts that people have spotted them. They are very excited to see it because they are rather rare at this point in 2023.”
They are very excited to see it because they are rather rare at this point in 2023.
– Stu Dunn
Dunn has heard of people paying up to $40 for one of the jackets at local thrift stores. He also has offers for his jacket, but it’s not selling.
He said more jackets have been spotted on the island ahead of the 2023 Games, including at the recent athletes’ rally in Charlottetown.
“I just think it’s a lot of fun and brings back memories. I attended the games here in 1991. It was a great thrill. The building was new at the time,” Dunn said of the Eastlink Centre.
“The jackets were everywhere, every volunteer from peak to peak had one.
“Seeing the island come together in 1991 – the jackets kind of represented that, and now I think it’s kind of a sentimental thing for the people who were involved with the games at the time, and now 32 years later, here we are doing it again.” .”
Dunn said he’s glad no one tried to create a replica of the ’91 jacket.
“This jacket is from ’91 and it’s good that it’s staying that way,” he said.
“It means a lot to people and is very popular. It’s part of the history of the games and the history of PEI sport.”
Murnaghan said he believes there could be a similar flurry around the volunteer jackets from 2023 onwards.
“Yes, definitely. I mean, they’re very popular right now, especially the volunteer outfits. There’s a three-piece outfit they have,” he said
“They have become extremely popular. So I would imagine 32 years from now people will be looking for all these items that they have for this year’s games.”