Nine more Canadian communities will celebrate the endless possibilities of the human spirit and the awe-inspiring stories of Paralympic athletes when they welcome the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay, starting on 3 March 2010 in the nation’s capital.
The relay, which heralds the opening of the first Paralympic Winter Games in Canada, will visit 11 communities in 10 days and culminate in the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron at BC Place in downtown Vancouver on 12 March 2010.
The community celebration sites are: Ottawa (3 March), Quebec City (4 March) and an as yet unnamed community in Central Canada (5 March), as well as Victoria (6 March), Esquimalt and Squamish (7 March), Whistler (8 March), Lytton and Hope (9 March), Maple Ridge (10 March), and Vancouver (11 and 12 March) in British Columbia.
"These 11 communities are sparks across this great land that shed light on and honour the remarkable athletic achievements of Paralympians and their triumphs over adversity," said John Furlong, VANOC's Chief Executive Officer. "As the Paralympic Flame approaches Vancouver, this light will only grow stronger as Canadians and people around the world join together with us in a celebration of what is possible if you dare to dream."
"We encourage all Canadians," he continued, "to come out to see the Paralympic Flame when it visits a community near you."
VANOC is also pleased to announce that the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will be presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Province of British Columbia. All three are joining the Government of Canada as partners of the historic relay. Coca-Cola also announced that it is signing on as an official partner of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
"Coca-Cola is proud to have been a Paralympic Games partner since Barcelona in 1992," said Nicola Kettlitz, General Manager, Coca-Cola Olympic Project Team. "We are delighted to announce Coca-Cola will be a partner of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay."
"RBC is honoured to support the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay as Canada prepares to welcome the world's best Winter Paralympians for the first time," said Jim Little, chief brand and communications officer, RBC. "Paralympic athletes represent the height of human achievement - they persevere when the odds are against them and we are proud to support their success."
An estimated 600 torchbearers will carry the flame in the curved steel blue torch designed and manufactured by Bombardier during the relay, which will start at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. A special Aboriginal-themed lighting ceremony with a uniquely Canadian flair will spark the Paralympic Flame, which has no ancestral home. Each of the 10 provinces and three territories will each name a torchbearer to participate in this ceremony on the historic front lawns of Parliament.
"As Canada prepares to host its first Paralympic Winter Games, our Government is proud to be a partner in this incredible journey," said Minister of State Gary Lunn. "On its 10-day journey, the Paralympic Flame will reach out to Canadians and invite them to celebrate our Paralympians and their achievements, as well as build excitement for its arrival at BC Place in Vancouver for the opening of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games."
"As the provincial host of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, British Columbia wants to welcome all Canadians to join us in the celebration and ensure they have a chance to be inspired and play a role in these historic Games," said Mary McNeil, Minister of State for the Olympics and ActNow BC.
In March 2010, approximately 1,000 athletes and officials from more than 40 countries will take part in five sports (Alpine and Cross-Country Skiing, Biathlon, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling) at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler. The big international sporting event comes just 12 days after the region hosts the Olympic Winter Games.
Tickets for all Paralympic events, including the magical Opening Ceremony, will go back on sale this Saturday, 7 November at www.vancouver2010.com, as part of Phase 3 of ticket sales for the Games.
For more information on the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay and the Paralympic Winter Games, please visit www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay.