Canada Games Ceremonial Tools

At Sholto Design Studio, each project starts with understanding who we are doing it for and why. Once we’ve clarified our intentions, we look into what the product requirements are and how to deliver work that meets the highest possible standards. The Canada Games Council asked Sholto Design Studio to redesign their ceremonial tools: a cauldron, mini cauldrons, and torches guided by their ethos to “spark future generations to achieve greatness both on and off the field of play.” 


The Canada Games champions the diversity and strength of Canadians through sport, showcasing athletes and host communities with events held every two years in varying locales in every corner of the country. As such, the Canada Games are for every Canadian and it is of utmost importance that each person feel represented in the design of the ceremonial tools, and understand their contribution to the fabric of Canada. Sholto Design Studio started by developing the theme. Athletes of all levels were interviewed to better understand the role of sport in their lives, both on and off the field. Many of the respondents cited both the support they received from those around them and giving back to others as a driving force of inspiration. The Canada Games communities are part of a perpetual motivation machine that runs on and emits inspiration, and this machine has proven itself to work even better if the fuel is diverse. Three key learnings evolved from this research: The challenges we face help us define greatness, the support we receive from others enriches the entire community, and when we Spark Greatness we perpetually amplify inspiration.


These learnings guided the concept development for the designs of the three ceremonial tools, which was explored through sketching, rapid prototyping, and scaled models. The design concepts have two components: 1) perpetual inspiration as represented by the overall form and 2) a surface texture through which every Canadian can see themselves symbolized. The form for the cauldron was realized as a mobius strip ring, with the flame revolving around the ring similarly to the way we’ve seen greatness sparked from one generation to the next. The surface texture on the ceremonial tools is that of four species of flora, one or more of which can be found across Canada. Made up of western red cedar, black spruce, paper birch and sweetgrass, these recognizable species allow each individual to connect to both place and community. 


The cauldron was fabricated by Charlottetown Metal Products in Prince Edward Island, in time for the 2023 Canada Games in the same place. The two mini cauldrons and four torches are expected to be complete for the 2025 Canada Games in St. John’s, Newfoundland.


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All designs were developed by Sholto Design Studio, Will Creative provided insights on branding and assistance in client presentations. Photography by:Debbie Pineau, Emma Stewart, Matthew Murnaghan