There are shorter routes from Halifax to Vancouver, but to be truly inclusive the 2010 Games Organizers are planning a torch odyssey that will weave through 10 provinces and three territories — a distance of 35,000 km.
More than 12,000 torch bearers will help carry the torch, running, walking, and wheeling a leg of the relay before arriving at B.C. Place on Feb. 12, 2010 for the start of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The vision of the 2010 Games is to encourage Canadians to ‘Celebrate the Possible,’” said John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC). “We will see over 100 days of light shining on the people and places that define our national character while inspiring Canadians to be the best they can be.”
The torch program was announced in Halifax in Monday, along with the sponsorship of Coca-Cola and RBC. Together with VANOC they will also help to choose the 12,000 torchbearers, as well as provide uniforms and other support.
They also released a new emblem with the words (A Path of Northern Lights) that is done in the same style as the Olympic and Paralympic emblems.
More details on the relay, including the official start date and registration for torchbearers, will be announced in November.
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time for Eastern Canada, which is a little out of touch with Games developments. According to a survey commissioned by Olympic organizers, only 43 per cent of people in Quebec knew the 2010 Games were being held in Vancouver and Whistler. For Eastern Canada in general, the figure is closer to 60 per cent. In Alberta, more than 80 per cent of respondents know where the Games are being held, about 10 per cent more than in Ontario.
Beijing, the host of the 2008 Summer Games, is getting its torch relay underway on March 24 in Olympia Greece, and will circumvent the globe before arriving in Beijing for the opening ceremonies on Aug. 8. There is also a separate Paralympic torch relay, which will set out from Beijing on after the closing ceremonies and branch into three parts — one of which will pass through Vancouver — before lighting the Paralympic cauldron on Sept. 6, 2008.