Thursday, December 24, 2009

Olympic Torch Relay St. Catherines, ON – December 20, 2009

St. Catherines was Torch Relay #4 for me. It wasn’t on my original list of planned appearances. A series of events that unfolded the week previous led me to St. Catherines and their Torch Relay. The short version is my co-worker Mariesa grew up in St. Catherines and goes back frequently to visit family and friends. She got a call out of the blue one day from her cousin, an up and coming TV and radio personality. Mariesa’s cousin had got a call to cover the Torch Relay Celebration on December 20th. Mariesa immediately started talking about me and my adventures with Vancouver 2010. By the time they hung up, it had been arranged that I would go to St. Catherines for the Torch Relay and be interviewed by Mariesa’s cousin for the piece she was doing for local TV.
I met Mariesa the morning of the 20th and we made our way to Market Square, the location of the Torch Celebration. We saw Mariesa’s cousin right away and did the interview. I was kind of nervous because I have not ever been interviewed for TV before. I was able to answer all the questions although I have no memory of what I said. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a copy of the clip so I can see what it is I said.

Hanging out in Market Square before the arrival of the Olympic Torch

We hung around Market Square for awhile and checked out the festivities. St. Catherines had a huge ice sculpture of the three Vancouver 2010 mascots, Quatchi, Sumi and Miga. You could walk behind the sculpture and put your head in the space that was carved out. Of course we took a few pictures. I have no idea how they did that sculpture but it was very cool and very impressive. Around noon we ventured out to the relay route to find our spot. We placed ourselves at the corner of Lake and Welland. A Coca Cola truck stopped and a guy yelled at me to come over. I was the chosen one to hand out the Coca Cola flags to the crowd around me. They went pretty quickly.

 Ice Sculpture in Market Square.

Mariesa was completely on board with running along with the torch so we made sure to place ourselves away from the crowds so we could take off running without hurting anyone. We followed if for awhile and then cut across a street to get back to the celebration. When we got to the top of the street the convoy was coming by again! We ran again and managed to keep up with it. It helped when the Torchbearer slowed down and walked. When it came time for the exchange, they held the Torchbearers in this one spot for awhile which allowed everyone to get a good look at it and take some great photos. Finally they were given the go ahead and the last Torchbearer; a St. Catherines resident carried the Torch into the Celebration and lit the cauldron.

Left: Mariesa cheers on the arrival of the Coca Cola truck.  Right:  Waiting for the Torchbearer exchange.

In all of the Torch Relays I have been to, I can never get over the amount of people that turn out to witness the relay and the Torch Celebrations. St. Catherines is not a big city, population is just over 130,000, yet there were tons of people filling Market Square and for awhile we couldn’t even get close to the stage. I love seeing the community spirit, Olympic spirit and the Canadian spirit from people all along the relay. I can only imagine what the people see who are on this journey every day. I think they are the luckiest people right now. I am proud to be Canadian and more proud when I see people showing their pride at events like the Torch Relay and Celebrations.
To view the days photos, please click here.

Crowds at the Torch Celebration. The lit cauldron is on the left.

Torchbearer who lit the cauldron.  He is a Roots Right to Play Ambassador. Notice our matching mittens.

No comments:

Post a Comment