Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

April 30, 2009 12:30 ET

Come Celebrate Our Canadian Athletes at Local Torch Relay Events

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2009) - The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport), today invited all Canadians to join in the excitement of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Torch Relays celebrations across Canada.

In Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square-which will be one of many sites for celebrations along the route of the Olympic Torch Relay-Minister of State Lunn gave details on how Canadians can get involved and embrace the Olympic spirit.

Local initiatives will encourage as many Canadians as possible to participate in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays. The Government of Canada will provide support to:

- Facilitate community celebrations featuring local artists

- Encourage young people across Canada to organize innovative projects to commemorate the passage of the torch through their communities

- Enhance celebrations in provincial and territorial capital cities, and

- Highlight the 2010 Games during the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill

"Six months from now, the Olympic Torch Relay will start on a journey of more than 45,000 kilometres that will touch the hearts of thousands of Canadians in more than 1,000 communities across the country," said Minister Lunn. "The Torch Relays will bring Canadians together, inspiring local and national pride in the spirit of the Games."

With stops in every province and territory, the Olympic Torch Relay will reach approximately 90 percent of the Canadian population, ending at the Opening Ceremony and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron at the start of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver on February, 12, 2010.

"The Olympic Torch Relay will provide an opportunity to showcase our diverse cultures, our vast geography, and our proud history," said Minister Lunn. "I encourage all Canadians to share in the Olympic spirit by becoming a torchbearer, by contributing your artistic, cultural, or administrative talents, or simply by joining in the celebrations in your community."

"The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay is a unique opportunity to unite Canadians and celebrate the accomplishments of our people, places and achievements," said Jim Richards, VANOC Program Director, Torch Relays. "We'd like to thank the Government of Canada for its generous contribution and tremendous support in helping us to put on relays that will inspire the world and make all Canadians proud. I encourage everyone to apply to become 2010 Olympic Torchbearers and to get out and see the Olympic Flame when it comes to your community."

This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Media Room.


BACKGROUNDER ON THE VANCOUVER 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC TORCH RELAYS

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays

The Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays will spread the Olympic spirit across Canada and ignite a sense of pride and excitement in Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

The Olympic Torch Relay is a 106-day journey that will bring all parts of the country together as Canada prepares to host to the 2010 Winter Games.

The Torch will cross the Pacific Ocean from Greece and will arrive in Victoria, British Columbia, on October 30, 2009. It will then begin a 45,000-kilometre trip across Canada involving more than 12,000 torch-bearers. With stops in every province and territory, the route for the Relay is expected to pass through 1,000 communities, travelling by hand, by foot, by plane and by convoy and crossing rivers, mountains, prairies and the Arctic. It will reach approximately 90 percent of the Canadian population.

The Olympic Torch Relay journey will end at the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver on February 12, 2010, with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron to signal the start of the Games.

The Paralympic Torch Relay will touch the soul of the nation and inspire the world. The celebrations surrounding the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will clearly leave an enduring legacy in communities across Canada.

The Government of Canada Contribution

The Government of Canada is providing $24.5 million to ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays bring the excitement of the Games to communities throughout Canada. This includes $12M contribution towards the organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays and a $12.5M contribution to local initiatives to support community celebrations.

The Government of Canada will provide support to:

- Feature local artists across Canada during local community celebrations

- Enhance the programming for celebrations that will take place in Canada's provincial and territorial capitals, in the Olympic cities of Montreal and Calgary , and in Canada's Capital

- Create innovative projects reaching out to young people across Canada to commemorate the Olympic flame's trip through their community

- Ensure that all Canadians remember the journeys of the Olympic and Paralympic torches through their communities with commemorative products, and

- Promote the Torch Relays and the Olympic adventure during the nationally-televised Canada day celebration on Parliament Hill

These activities will inspire Canadians' pride all along the route of the 2010 Winter Games Torch Relays, giving them the chance to share in an unforgettable cultural experience while participating locally in the 2010 Winter Games.

Did You Know ...

The torch relay will showcase some of Canada's world class attractions, such as Niagara Falls and Confederation Bridge, which draws both Canadians and visitors to Canada throughout the year. Other world-class destinations the Olympic Flame will visit include:

- British Columbia: Kootenay Pass; at 1770 metres above sea level, this is the highest point the Olympic Flame will reach in Canada

- Newfoundland and Labrador: Cape Spear National Historic Site of Canada; Canada's easternmost point

- Nova Scotia: Lunenburg; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of Bluenose and Bluenose II

- Nunavut: Alert; the world's northernmost permanently inhabited community

- Quebec: Fortifications of Old Quebec; a UNESCO World Heritage Site

- Saskatchewan: Wenuskawin Heritage Park

- Alberta: The Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park; the grand masterpiece of the West

- Manitoba: Churchill; located on the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay at the mouth of the historic Churchill River

- New-Brunswick: Moncton; situated in southeastern New Brunswick within the Petitcodiac River valley

- PEI: Charlottetown; known as the "Birthplace of Confederation"

- Ontario: Niagara Falls; a natural phenomenon and world-class tourist destination

- Yukon: Whitehorse; a city with a reputation forged a hundred years ago and steeped in the romance of the Gold Rush

- Northwest Territories: Yellowknife; has placed first as the overall "Year-Round Coldest" city in Canada

Not only will the Torch be carried by hand, foot, plane and convoy, but the route plans will feature up to 100 different modes of transportation including:

- First Nations canoe

- horse-drawn carriage

- cross-country skis

- kayak

- snowmobile

- tractor

Enhanced programming for community celebrations will take place in Canada's provincial and territorial capitals, in the Olympic cities of Montreal and Calgary and in the National Capital on the following dates:

- St. John's, NFL: November 13, 2009

- Charlottetown, PEI: November 21, 2009

- Halifax, NS: November 18, 2009

- Fredericton, NB: November 25, 2009

- Quebec, QC: December 2, 2009

- Toronto, ON: December 17, 2009

- Winnipeg, MB: January 5, 2010

- Regina, SK: January 9, 2010

- Edmonton, AB: January 13, 2010

- Victoria, BC: October 30, 2009

- Iqaluit, Nunavut: November 9, 2009

- Yellowknife, NWT: November 5, 2009

- Whitehorse, Yukon: November 3, 2009

- Montreal, QC: December 10, 2009

- Calgary, AB: January 18, 2010

- Canada's National Capital: December 12, 2009

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M.P
    Minister of State (Sport)
    Michelle Yao
    819-934-3411
    or
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations
    819-994-9101
    866-569-6155