If you’ve been wandering downtown lately, you may have noticed that amidst all of the downtown holiday decorations, that the City Hall pyramid has been lit up red at night.
This is just one of the ways that we’ve been getting in the Olympic spirit, Painting the Town Red in preparation for the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay as it passes through Edmonton on January 13th. The official route of the torch relay won’t be announced until December 30th, so for the time being it’s top secret.
Well, sort of top secret. Until December 23rd, over at Edmonton Stories, they are giving away daily photo clues about the torch route. It’s a simple little contest. Every day they are posting one photo of an Edmonton landmark along the Torch Relay Route. If you guess the correct location (it’s multiple choice so it’s not that difficult), your name is entered into a draw for a chance to win 1 of 5 prizes.The lucky winners will each get to take home a set of official Olympic winter wear, including a toque, scarf and a pair of torchbearer mittens.
As nice as the Olympic swag is though, what’s really going to be exciting is this opportunity for Edmontonians to gather to cheer on the torch bearers as they carry the Olympic Flame on its way to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. At the beginning of December I was in City Hall when Doreen Ryan was announced as the torchbearer who will run the final 300m into Sir Winston Churchill Square to light the 1.3-metre high celebration cauldron.
Ryan is just one of the many Canadians carrying the torch across Canada. Like Ryan, some are former Olympians, others community leaders, politicians, or Canadians who have overcome some sort of life-threatening adversity. Regardless of what you feel about the Olympics, the stories of these torchbearers are equally heartwarming and inspiring. It was only after reading the stories of these other torchbearers and hearing Ryan speak at City Hall about her experiences training for the competition and about her continued support of local sports and keeping active that I really started to get excited about the Torch Relay coming to Edmonton. So I’m looking forward to January 13th now, when the crowds will gather along the relay route, wearing either some prize winning Olympic gear or other bits of red to cheer on the torchbearers.