The 25th annual World Trotting Conference arrived in Charlottetown, PEI on Monday, Aug. 14.
Delegates and guests, from harness racing countries around the world, attended a welcome reception at the Delta Prince Edward, which was highlighted by opening remarks from Richard Brown, provincial Government House Leader and MLA for Charlottetown.
"Prince Edward Island is proud to host the World Trotting Conference and the final leg of the World Driving Championship," he said. "I know we have a number of people here who have travelled thousands of miles to be here, to share their knowledge."
Brown acknowledged that there are "challenges" facing the Canadian and Prince Edward Island harness racing industries, adding that the WTC offered collaborative opportunities to bolster the sport's popularity. "I look forward to the discussion at this conference, and the new ideas on how we can bring the industry back to the greatness it once was," he said.
Dan Gall, Standardbred Canada president and CEO, thanked Sweden for allowing Canada to host the WTC and WDC during a milestone year. Sweden will instead host the next WTC, in 2019.
"This is our 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada," said Gall. "Two-hundred-fifty years ago, the first-ever recorded race was happening on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec… and we are also celebrating our 150th anniversary as a country."
Earlier in the day, the International Trotting Association's Constitution and Regulation Committee met for the opening meeting of the six-day global conference.
The WTC resumes on Tuesday, Aug. 15, with official opening ceremonies at 9 am, and committee meetings throughout the day. Discussions will address matters including equine health and integrity, racing and wagering, and marketing and business development. The WTC Symposium will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 16 and Thursday, Aug. 17. (SC)