Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cross-Canada countdown is on for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

Cross-Canada countdown is on for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

Sep 16, 2009

Communities, organizers put finishing touches on plans to engage and inspire a nation

Vancouver, BC Skydivers parachuting in from above, top regional musical performers, giant puppets, a dazzling light show, foot stomping Acadian fiddlin’, towering snow and ice sculptures, a huge tepee, as well as a kazoo band: that is just a sampling of the unique local flavour almost 200 torch relay celebration communities plan on showcasing when they welcome the Olympic Flame and potentially the world to their part of the country.

Communities in all regions are readying themselves to become an “Olympic Town” for the day when the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada, makes its historic 45,000 kilometre journey across Canada from coast to coast to coast starting October 30.

“Our goal with these celebrations has always been to bring the magic and excitement of the Olympic Spirit home to millions of Canadians no matter where they live and truly make these Canada’s Games,” said John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). “Our celebration communities are so excited to welcome the Olympic Flame and they’ve planned some truly memorable and inspirational entertainment for the crowds.”

One of the most anticipated announcements in each community hosting a celebration will be the naming of the community torchbearer. They have been nominated by fellow members of their own city, town or village as the person who best exemplifies their civic pride and the Olympic Spirit.

This torchbearer whose name will remain a closely guarded secret in some communities until the celebration starts will have the special task of lighting a cauldron on stage during the festivities. The curved white cauldron, which stands 1.3 metres high, complements the look of the Olympic Torch. Both the cauldron and the torch were designed by Bombardier in collaboration with VANOC.

An 18-metre-by-8.5-metre stage will be assembled for most celebration sites along with information and activity tents featuring athlete meet and greets and fun interactive winter sport demonstrations. Special interactive shows created especially for the torch relay by Coca-Cola, RBC and the Government of Canada will entertain residents as they arrive.

Drummers and acrobats will dazzle the crowd in an intense human percussion performance, compliments of Coca-Cola. Balloons will drop into the crowd during a light show and Coke’s song Open Happiness will play. Using a giant canvas, artist Fritz Branschat will keep the audience guessing in a dramatic explosion of paint and energy, presented by RBC. Upon completion, his painting will be donated to the community as a keepsake.

Moving down streets decorated with Olympic banners and lined by excited residents waving Canadian flags, the torchbearers, accompanied by escort runners and Aboriginal flame attendants, will approach the celebration site. The flame will be passed to the community torchbearer who will light the celebration cauldron in one of the most highly anticipated moments of the day.

The stage show will also feature a unique variety of locally hand-picked musicians, artists and entertainers from the region selected by the community planners, and include remarks from government and community representatives. The Government of Canada has been instrumental in organizing a choir that will also sing a moving choral arrangement for the near 200 community celebrations, composed by well-known Quebec choir master Gregory Charles.

How the journey will begin: from Greece to Canada

The Olympic Flame will be lit by the power of the sun’s rays on October 22 during a time-honoured ceremony almost 10,000 kilometres away in Olympia, site of the first Olympic Games in ancient Greece. Officials will present the flame to VANOC a week later in Athens’ Panathinaiko Stadium after a brief relay through Greece.

Sheltered in a security lantern, similar to a miner’s lantern, the Olympic Flame will embark on a trans-Atlantic flight to Canada on board a Canadian Armed Forces’ aircraft. Less than 24 hours later, it will arrive in Victoria, BC, where it is anticipated thousands will cheer on the starting point of the relay and enjoy the first community celebration.

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay will visit more than 1,030 communities from coast to coast to coast across Canada before it finishes its 106-day journey in downtown Vancouver on February 12, 2010 when the Olympic Flame will light the Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in front of a television audience of billions. During the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history, 12,000 torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame and at various opportunities will feature nearly 100 alternative transportation modes, including dogsled, Haida canoe, chuckwagon, seaplane, ice resurfacer, and double-decker bus.

To capture the excitement of the Olympic Flame in each community visited, Canadians are invited to share their photos and short text descriptions with the world by submitting them to Canada CODE at A selection of the submissions will be displayed on public screens during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Visit for more information.

Note to Photo Editors: Images are available of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Community Cauldron and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Mobile Celebration Stage in the media centre image gallery at


VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

About Coca-Cola and the Olympic Movement

The Coca-Cola Company has been associated with the Olympic Games since 1928 and is the longest continuous corporate supporter of the Olympic Movement. Through the Olympic Games, Coca-Cola encourages people to create their own path of "positivity" in everyday life by believing that anything is possible. The Company's sponsorship supports National Olympic Committees in more than 200 countries to help athletes train and compete. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through 2020. For more information about Coca-Cola Canada, please visit our website at or our parent company’s website at

About RBC

As part of our commitment to helping create a better Canada, RBC sponsors amateur sport, from grassroots programs in local communities to national sport associations that support the development of amateur athletes who compete at home and abroad. Canada’s longest-standing supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team since 1947, RBC continues its sponsorship through the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is proud to bring the Olympic Spirit to communities across Canada as presenting partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. RBC is also a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada, the Canadian Snowboard Team, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, Athletics Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Visit

About the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada is proud to make 2010 a celebration for all Canadians. Through strategic investments in programming and funding, the spirit and excitement will be felt far and wide and leave lasting legacies for future generations. Through the Olympic Torch Relay, the Government of Canada is supporting citizen and community participation, as well as the inclusion of Aboriginal, ethnocultural and official-language communities. For more information on the Government of Canada’s contribution to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit

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1 comment:

Furniture Rental Toronto said...

I wish I could see the lighting of the torch in Greece by sun rays. That has to be an adventure of a lifetime. I wonder if they sell tickets to see this rare celebration. I'll definitely go see the torch relay once it gets to Canada.

Take care, Ella