UNICEF Cards: "At Play" with Peter Wyse | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content

Growing up in Lac Le Jeune, BC, I spent my winters skiing, sledding, and skating. I recall one winter when the ice froze clear and the trout chased my choppy strides. But the real inspiration for ‘At Play’, occurred when I was an adult. It started in February 2010 during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

My wife was selected to carry the Olympic torch. She’s a teacher and her students lined the street cheering her on. I don’t recall her feet hitting the pavement - she floated! It was pure magic.

Excited to watch the world’s best athletes compete, my wife and I ordered tickets for every imaginable event. Tickets were distributed by lottery so it was up to chance. We weren’t lucky, but we vowed to attend the various events celebrating The Games...even if it involved groveling to my luckier friends with spare tickets.

We saw training events and concerts. We toured the city and were energized by the enthusiastic response from the global visitors to our town. We cheered on their athletes. We cheered on our own.

Then friends stepped up with tickets. We were spoiled! It culminated with an invite to the Men’s Hockey Gold Medal game - a once in a lifetime experience. 3-2 for Canada - Crosby with the winning goal! Needless to say, I became a huge fan of our Canadian Olympians.

Inspired by our athlete’s commitment and passion, my paintings began to include elements of Canadiana; featuring children with big wonderful dreams.

Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were two kids with big wonderful dreams. Partnered together at ages seven and nine, their chemistry and commitment to their sport and to each other was storybook. They were playful and charming and real. Champions.

"At Play" celebrates Tessa and Scott. It celebrates all athletes and how they inspire us to dream... or, perhaps, just play.

Peter Wyse is a regular contributing artist to UNICEF Canada. To learn more about his work, click here and here.

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