By Inge Wilson
Hope experienced a once in a lifetime event on Sunday, February 7th when the Olympic Torch Relay passed through our community. This was a magical experience that lasted just a very short while, but it was embraced by a huge number of local residents with enthusiasm and great energy.
While it might seem unrealistic to expect that something like this could happen here again, the Spirit of BC-Hope Region is promising the community another special event to take place a mere month from now when the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay comes to town!
The 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will be much different from the Olympic Torch Relay as the lighting of the Paralympic Flame will not originate in Greece but will instead take place during a ceremony in Ottawa on March 3rd, 2010. The lighting ceremony will involve torchbearers who represent each province and territory. This relay is also distinct from typical linear relays as it will happen in and around the eleven Canadian Celebration Communities along its route – these include Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, Whistler, Vancouver and ….. Hope!
The 10-day, 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will give many Canadians, young and old, a chance to discover the unique and inspiring stories of Paralympians and other Canadians who defy the odds. It will demonstrate the fire inside each of these individuals and how it inspires others by shining a light on their achievements and celebrating their passion for sports.
The Paralympic Torch Relay will conclude at the March 12th Opening Ceremony in Vancouver signaling the start of the Paralympic Winter Games where Paralympians from all over the world will unite to celebrate the possible.
While local organizers are not able to provide very many details yet, Hope residents should mark Tuesday, March 9th on the calendar and then plan to attend an almost 2 hour live show in Memorial Park between 4PM and 6PM as a giant stage will be erected to feature local musicians, singers and First Nations groups. There will also be about 30 torchbearers running a route through and around Memorial Park and at least 5 of them will be from the Hope region.
The Paralympic Torch Relay will represent the fire in every one of us – the spark of possibility that inspires us to overcome challenges and pursue our dreams. Come out and be prepared to experience yet another magical moment right here in Hope!
Inge Wilson is the co-chair of the Spirit of B.C.- Hope Region Committee.