Cornwall all set to Host Olympic Flame by Richard Komorowski – December 14, 2009 – Cornwall Ontario

flameO CORNWALL – For 21 days, the Province of Ontario hosts the Olympic Flame as it makes its marathon journey around Canada. While in Ontario, the flame will travel 5450 kilometres between centres of population safely in a van, but for another 900 km a relay of 2900 torchbearers will carry it proudly through 232 communities, and another 20 First Nation communities.

According to Sarah Mulhall, the Ontario Regional Route Coordinator, who has so far followed the torch throughout its journey, there’s a lot more work than just driving (or flying) around Canada with the flame. In this province alone, some 2900 individual torch bearers must all be coordinated, so they are set up and waiting at the right time and place for their moment of glory. Routes through towns need to be planned, police escorts arranged, and streets blocked off so runners and spectators can stay safe.

When asked about some of the more memorable moments of the relay, Sarah remembered fondly the welcome the team received in the small native community of Atlin, in northern British Columbia. “The population was only about 200, but the entire village was waiting with the flame and ran with it.”

Cornwall, too, has found a permanent place in Sarah’s memory. On Friday she had an ultrasound at the CCH and saw her new baby for the first time.

Designing the torch route was a challenge itself. “…we wanted to include as many Canadians as possible,” said John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). “It is our hope and dream to unite this country and bring Canadians closer together to discover the many cultures and perspectives that make up our nation. We will share the Olympic Flame with young and old, northern and southern, eastern and western — and everyone in between — in order to make these truly Canada’s Games and ones where everyone can celebrate with glowing hearts.”

In general, when the flame arrives at a town or village along the route, the convoy stops and the flame is carried by a team of runners through the community, before the flame continues its journey to the next community.

Cornwall, partly because of its dynamism and commitment to sports of all sorts, is one of only 42 communities in Ontario that will be hosting a special Olympic Flame party.

The flame will leave Ottawa before daylight, at 6:50 am, and travel through Orleans, Rockland, Hammond and Limoges before arriving at Casselman at about 10:12 am. After a tour through Casselman, it’s straight down the 138, arriving at the junction of 138 and Cornwall Centre Road at 11:00 am. At this point the relay runners will once again pick up the flame, running down Pitt Street to Lamoureux Park.

Activities at the park will commence at 11:00 am, and the main flame cauldron will be lit at around noon. Brian St. Pierre, accompanied by choirs from St. Joe’s and la Citadel will sing Cornwall’s Olympic Song, “From Cornwall to Vancouver”. There will also be dance performances by performers from Awkwasne, and the MacCollough Highland Dancers. Grand Chief Mike Mitchell will be on hand to welcome the flame.

Following the celebration, the torch, this time carried by a group of about twenty local doctors, will travel west on Water Street to Brookdale, and then off to Cornwall Island.

In 1999, the IOC took on a mandate to “strengthen the inclusion of women, youth and Indigenous peoples in the Games.” Indigenous participation in past Games, such as Calgary and Salt Lake City, focused primarily on ceremonies and cultural programs. The Vancouver Organizing Committee has been working hard with BC First Nations in an effort to make their participation more than mere tokenism.

However, the inclusion of Akwasasne in the effort to involve all Canadians in the Winter Olympics, will give the relay organisers a unique logistics nightmare. What happens if the Olympic Flame runs out of fuel in the line up on the bridge to get through Customs? Will they have to cancel the Olympics?

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  1. The Olympics are little more than a corporate festival and a human circus… Why such community hysteria and such a rush to flush millions upon millions of dollars down the drain, to support the Olympics (Trademark Registered and Copyrighted) and the fat partying smug elitists on the committee?

    Wouldn’t it be better that Canada take the podium to mark victory over famine and disease? Surely a nation like Canada bathed in wealth and resources could put on a better show than the shallow, sexist, narcissistic, swindle and orgy of an Olympics.

    If health and fitness were our aim, the money would go to entire communities that drink filthy water in our country, or to the countless children being fed cheap and unhealthy food, even as their poverty-line parents feed corporate profits, or —- if the international community of the Olympics is to be believed -— the human waves around us, starving, or with malaria, or teeth falling out of their heads, or dying of the measles and tuberculosis that we long ago put behind us.

    We’re focusing resources and our best energies on a frivolous and passing event that highlights not the best of our kind but —- judging by the military, police and security presence -— instead we’re highlighting the true state of affairs outside of the walled, fenced, and security ringed compounds that are required for this festival. At this moment the resources of local police departments, RCMP, CBSA, CSIS, and the Canadian Armed Forces are concentrated on the Vancouver Olympics, leaving everything and everyone else vulnerable (even tree-huggers armed only with ladders effortlessly stormed Parliament Hill last week).

    And lastly, to the lie that financial spin-offs will justify the spending (of money from your pockets, off your tables, off your backs, out of your schools and hospitals) …anyone old enough to have primed a pump will know that using a gallon of water to get a quart, is a losing proposition.

  2. Thank God that my glass is half full…

  3. What an unfortunate view Trent has on something so special. There is no doubt that in society today, money is spent in outragious fashion on outlandish projects. That being said, any initiative that sponsors and promotes the competition of people on a world stage, without involving armaments or bloodshed deserves more respect than that.

    Having any association with a world class event such as the festivities in Cornwall today, is a tremendous boost to something more valuable than money. It has infused the communnity with a sense of patriotism as well as unity. I was at Lamoureux park this morning. I saw happy children, free adults and police officers controlling crowds without the use of violence. This was not from a Disney movie but from Downtown Cornwall. Anyone missing the comnnection between that and the olympics is not trying hard enough.

    It is obvious that the organization itself has many flaws, but to suggest it has no merit, negates any point Trent was trying to make. I think Cornwall’s population in general has enough insight to figure out there are big problems in the world, we do not need more people spelling it out. There are many ways a person can make a difference, but blaming others is not one of them. By the sounds of it, Trent is an intelligent individual and passionate about the injustices of the world. I hope he shows the same amount of enthusiasm and tenacity trying to do something about it

    My thoughts………

  4. To Trent Tulip

    Every point you make is more or less valid. However, if we were all to do as you suggest, what sort of world would we have? Rather drab and weary, I would think.

    And yes, you are quite right, we need to solve the problems you mention, and more besides, and we need to start working on them now, because soon it will be too late. But do you really begrudge the world a little fun, a chance to see some of the best athletes in the world (regardless that most of them are professional), and to cheer on one’s favourite team?

    I used to have an uncle, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. As a teenager, he was an absolutely brilliant swimmer, and a champion with a rifle. He would have been on the British Olympic team; his only problem would have been which one, the swimming team or the shooting team. But events didn’t unfold as they should, so when he was sixteen, he volunteered for the Royal Marine Commandos.

    Everyone had hoped he would represent his country wearing the Union Jack, in a swimming pool or shooting range. Instead, wearing a black frogman’s suit, he represented his country on the Normandy Beaches, the night before D-Day, killing very young and very old German soldiers so that the next day the Allies could land with fewer casualties. It was something that affected him for the rest of his life.

    Perhaps if we could have had an Olympics in 1944, rather than a world war, his life, and countless others’, would have been a lot different.

    So yes, I’ll say it again, you’re quite right in many of the points you raise. But shouldn’t we be thankful that today we can actually have an Olympic Games, and that the world’s finest young people can represent their countries on the playing field, rather than the killing field?

  5. It’s not so much the problems of the world, as the tendency to look away from them, and the “olympian” willingness to pay millions upon millions of dollars for a distraction is something worth noting.

    Not to begrudge anyone a little fun… but there’s something lacking when a hoax such as the modern Olympics (Incorporated and Trademark Registered) are seen as the expression of a higher ideal.

    The Olympics are a commercial stage for nationalistic chest thumping, and too often an exhibition of competitors that are certifiable obsessives — but stunted social growth and physical deformation aren’t the stuff of sponsors, or network airtime (so no need to look away, the camera will do that).

    This illusion of a free-world (excepting a few women) engaging in “games”, takes place in camps ringed from outsiders by security from every Canadian service armed and otherwise, while inside, the untrusted competitors are relentlessly tested — and regularly found out — for unfair and unsporting enhancement and advantage.

    And to address some points raised by others:

    ■ The ’44 Olympics were rendered moot by a very well attended ’36 Olympics, and evidently infused with a patriotism and unity that exceeded the host’s borders.

    ■ Canadians by and large have little knowledge about the problems of the world. Our own soup kitchen feeds just a little over 100 people a day but, …soup? …kitchen? Half the world would dare to dream.

    ■ Disneyesque joy and Olympic fervor have a common source …fantasy.

    ■ And yes, upon looking at the Olympics …the view is indeed unfortunate.

  6. If we listen to Trent, it would seem that it’s all about money. I think he’d like us to go back to Roman times and the Arena. Lions loved it, there was no shortage of Christians (No ketchup either).
    You know, a funny thing happened on my way to the Forum……I realized that is was free to everyone and there was no shortage of participants who’s view was indeed unfortunate!

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