Olympic Flame Arrives In Canada
Former Olympic speed-skating champion Catriona Le May Doan and triathlete Simon Whitfield held the Olympic flame aloft at British Columbia’s provincial legislature on Friday, officially launching the start of the 106-day, 2010 Olympic torch relay.
Hundreds of Canadians had gathered on the lawns to watch as the relay began.
“The flame embodies the Olympic ideals of excellence, friendship and respect. These values resonate deeply with all Canadians,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a large crowd gathered for the ceremony.
“The Olympic Flame will be travelling across Canada on the longest torch relay within a single country in Olympic history. With nearly 200 communities across Canada participating in local celebrations, this is a chance for Canadians from all parts of our great nation to share in the excitement as we count down to the Games’ opening day,” he added.
The crowd got its first glimpse of the flame from the dramatic jutting bow of a traditional canoe. It was paddled across the waters of Victoria’s Inner Harbour by a ceremonial party.
After a brief ceremony conducted in accordance with Salish protocols, the procession then carried the flame to a stage set up on the grounds for the start of the welcoming ceremony.