A moment of history was made in Hope with record-breaking crowds turning out to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic torch.
The early morning celebration is estimated to have attracted 2500 cheering fans to the small community.
“The torch relay brings to my mind the image of creating the world’s largest charm bracelet,” said Mayor Laurie French, in his welcoming address. “Each community it passes through being linked to the last one and soon to the ones ahead.”
“With 100 days behind you and five short ones ahead, here today you stand at the gateway to the final stretch” of your journey. You are adding Hope – hope for the athletes, hope for the Olympic games, hope for Canada and indeed hope for the world….”
Like a well-oiled machine the torch was lit by our first local torchbearer and long time Spirit of B.C. community chair Kate Zabell, who “savoured” every moment of her 300-metre run from the Hope RCMP station to near the Hope Recreation Centre.
The torch moved smoothly through the town held tight by a series of relay runners, meeting up with massive crowd awaiting its arrival along Wallace Street. There the torchbearers were greeted by a host of Beavers and Cubs showing their spirit, each carrying a lantern to light the route. A massive parade of flags representing each country competing in the Winter Games and carried by another host of volunteers added to the pageantry.
In a stroke of luck for one local Olympic enthusiast, a torchbearer had cancelled, leaving a spot open for our second local torch runner. For Hans Jeschek it was a dream come true.