Paralympic Torch Relay touches down in Vancouver Wednesday

Post by Mike Klassen in

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Torchbearer 50 Matt Hallat lights the cauldron on stage in Whistler, BC

The second phase of our 2010 Games celebration is about to arrive here in Vancouver, beginning with the Paralympic Torch Relay touching down late Wednesday morning, then moving on later in the day to Maple Ridge. On Thursday, a 24-hour long passing of the Paralympic Torch begins in Downtown Vancouver. If you can be in the vicinity of the Hillcrest/Riley Community Centre on Wednesday, a celebration begins at 11am and lasts until 1pm.

A unique flame creation ceremony by the Tsleil’Waututh Nation will kick off the Paralympic Torch Relay. The Flame will travel in a circular route in Riley Park with exchanges taking place along the route and a street party on Ontario Street.

On Thursday, March 11th, the Torch Relay arrives at UBC. Celebrations on the UBC campus will take place outside of the Student Union Building near the UBC Thunderbird Arena — home to ice sledge hockey competitions. The event will begin at 11:00 am.

Then the Paralympic Torch Relay moves to downtown Vancouver, for a remarkable 24-hour event. The 24-hour Torch Relay will start from the stage at Robson Square and the Paralympic Flame will travel in a repeated loop along Howe, Georgia, Granville, Smithe, Bute and Robson with the exchanges of the Flame taking place at various locations. Celebration activities will include simultaneous live entertainment, sponsor activities, sports demos and cultural crafts display. The ice rink at Robson Square will be open for free public skating and the Zipline will open on March 12 at 10 am.

In spite of the forecast of showers, we can expect an outpouring of support from the public for our Paralympians. Of course, it all culminates with the opening ceremony on Friday evening, which is coming close to being SOLD OUT according to ticket sellers at Robson Square. As a side note, this will be the last second to last event in BC Place (the Auto Show is still to come) with its inflated domed roof. The building closes after Friday for a major renovation, re-opening in 2011.

Just another reminder to our readers that the deadline for our Paralympic opening ceremony ticket offer sponsored by BC Hydro Power Smart Village is 6pm on Wednesday, March 10th. See this post for details on how to enter (our existing Twitter followers, Facebook fans & email subscribers qualify), and be sure to be checking your email, Facebook messages or Twitter direct messages between 6-8pm to see if you win!

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The 24 hr relay of the torch around Robson Square has started and the Paralympic spirit is just as strong as the Olympic Spirit was. It is a thrilling experience to see the torch and if you have time go downtown and watch it go past. You won't regret it. There is live entertainment at Robson Square. I saw the first torch bearer Paul Gauthier and his hand off (kiss as it is called) and just like the Olympic Torch experience people were cheering and it brought tears to the eyes. There are Canada flags, red and white - it's back!!!!

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