The Olympic torch was lit in Athens, Greece on October 22 and made its way into Toronto on December 17th! The final destination in the city was at Nathan Phillips Square and I was fortunate enough to be there for it! I arrived just before 6pm where there was live music, skating on the rink, vendors, free activities for the children and of course the large Christmas tree and lights that go with the season. The ceremony was officially opened by an Aboriginal Blessing at about 6:30, then followed by First Nations hoop dancers and other acts which were a good way to defer our attention from how cold it was and that warm feet were going to be so nice once it was through.
Despite a couple of protests along the route, which resulted in a slight detour, the flame was still able to make the scheduled stop at Sick Kids hospital where there were 80 children eagerly awaiting it! It was about 8pm when Vicky Sunohara, former two-time gold medalist for Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team, and the brigade carried the flame into a crowd of excited Canadians, like myself, who cheered as loud as we could. What a feeling as people clapped and banged the free tambourines that had been handed out! After she lit the cauldron (that will remain lit until after the Games), my highlight of the evening was the singing of O’ Canada! A chill and smile were had by all at the same time, as a few thousand people joined in the anthem, what a great feeling! The unity and peace that the Games stand for was evident that evening and I was proud to be a part of it!