Monday, November 24, 2008

Have Torch, need bearers!

North coast residents will have a couple of opportunities to take in the Olympic torch relay in the winter of 2009 and 2010. The Vancouver organizing committee for the Olympic games has released the torch relay itinerary, a nationwide journey that will get underway on October 30th, 2009 when the Olympic Torch arrives in Victoria and begins its cross country journey.

The first chance will mean a trip over to the Queen Charlottes, as the torch makes the rounds of Haida Gwaii in November of 2009 as Day Five of the torch relay will cross over the Islands stopping in three locations before it heads for Northern Canada. On November 3rd, the torch relay will make daytime stops in Skidegate, Sandspit and Queen Charlotte City before it moves on to Whitehorse and a evening celebration to send it across the nation on a tour across all Provinces and territories leading up to the February start of the Olympic games.

The Charlottes will share the torch after it has spent days one thru four of the relay touring Vancouver Island communities. The itinerary for Haida Gwaii will find the torch arriving in Sandspit crossing over to Skidegate and then travelling to Queen Charlotte City for the official community celebration for the Islands. From there the torch will be flown to Whitehorse and an evening community celebration that will mark the beginning of the cross Canada phase of the torch relay which will see the torch relay take place in communities in every province and territory.

It returns to British Columbia on Day 84 when it crosses over the BC/Alberta border and begins the tour of the province touching almost every community on the way to Vancouver’s opening ceremonies of the games. By Day 92 it will be in Prince George and then cross the northern portion of the province, stops along the way will be Burns Lake on Day 93, Day 94 finds stops in Smithers, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John before the torch will end up in Fort Nelson to begin Day 95 and Rupert’s next chance to view and participate in the relay.

From Fort Nelson, the torch will be flown to Terrace where it will begin the journey for the day westward to Prince Rupert, arriving here on February 1st the centre piece of a community celebration of the 2010 Olympics. And while many will be content to just watch the torch arrive in town, a good number of others may wish to participate in the actual relay of the torch.

To that end Vanoc the official agency of the 2010 Olympics, has posted two links on their website directing those eager to join in to either the coca cola torch relay site or one hosted by the Royal Bank.

Coca Cola is asking Canadians to sign up for their iCoke VIP newsletter which will apparently provide the details as to how you can carry the torch for Coke, over at the Royal Bank they want Canadians to pledge to be better citizens, a pledge that could put them at the front of the list to carry the torch on behalf of the Royal Bank.

The announcement of Prince Rupert’s spot on the national relay tour has been greeted quite enthusiastically by outgoing Mayor Herb Pond, who provided his thoughts for the Daily News in Monday’s paper on the possibilities for Prince Rupert in the Olympic year...

Mayor is fired up about visit of Olympic flame
Iconic torch set to pass through city prior to the Games By George T. Baker The Daily News Monday, November 24, 2008
Page three

Mayor Herb Pond is excited about Prince Rupert's Olympic Torch relay involvement. The torch will make its way onto Kaien Island on the Feb. 1, 2010, the 95th day of the longest cross-country relay in Olympics history, having made its way here from its previous stop-off in Terrace.

"The community is going to be one of the host communities so that means we get to party," said Pond from Ottawa where is attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference. "There will be a downtown celebration of the torch and then it will head for the ferry on Feb. 2 for Vancouver Island," said Pond.

Pond joked that it was the city's collective good looks that was responsible for the stop-over. "Part of it obviously is plain strategic because of the ferry leg and part of it is because we have some staff working very closely with the Olympic committee to ensure whatever issues that might have existed were taken care of," said Pond.

The Olympic Flame is lit in an ancient ritual in Olympia, Greece, site of the first Olympic Games. After a short run through Greece, the Olympic Flame arrives in Athens, where it is handed over to a representative from the host country.

From there, the Olympic Flame will make a trans-Atlantic flight and arrive in Canada, signaling the start of the longest Olympic Torch Relay to take place in a single country. The Olympic Flame will travel more than 45,000 kilometres across Canada some by land, air and water; and some by other means.

During its journey toward Vancouver, the Olympic Flame will pass by some of Canadian landmark landscapes.

And at each turn and twist in the path to the Olympic games, Canadians and visitors will gather to share in the experience.

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