Canadian Paralympic Torch Relay Signals Start of Games

As Canada gets ready to host the world’s Paralympic winter athletes starting on March 12, the inspirational 10-day journey of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay is officially underway with the first group of Paralympic Torchbearers gathering in the nation’s capital to create stories that will inspire the nation. More than 600 torchbearers will proudly carry the flame as the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay visits 11 communities.

“To carry the Paralympic Flame is truly an honor,” Arnold Boldt, multi-sport Paralympian, said in a press release. “I hope it sparks inspiration and dreams in people of all abilities across Canada and the world as it travels to Vancouver for the start of the Games. Dreams will come true here in 2010.”

To start each day of the relay, a new Paralympic flame will be created by members of the local Aboriginal community, in accordance with their customs, wherever the daily torch relay celebration is taking place. Ashes from each flame creation ceremony will be collected and united in the final fire on March 11 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and then carried to the official opening of the Games

“The Paralympic Torch Relay is designed to illuminate the extraordinary achievements of Paralympians and celebrate the endless possibilities of the human spirit,” John Furlong, chief executive officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, said. “We encourage Canadians to come out and experience the energy and wonder of the Paralympic flame throughout its 10-day journey.”

On March 11, the relay will turn into a 24-hour event through Vancouver’s downtown core surrounding Robson Square as part of a day-long celebration counting down the final moments until the Opening Ceremony of the Games at BC Place.

“This relay is all about celebrating everyday heroes who embody the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration, and equality in their everyday life,” Whistler mayor Ken Melame said.

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