By Gerald V. Paul
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will help celebrate the arrival of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games flame on Saturday (May 30), Day 1 of the Games Torch Relay.
The flame arrival ceremony will be at Canada Square on the waterfront, beginning at 2:30 p.m. and will feature an exclusive soundtrack produced by local musical director Andrew Craig and a special performance from the Obeah Opera.
“Our great city, region and province has never seen a summer like the one we’re about to have and the arrival of the Pan Am flame signals that the celebrations and competitions are about to begin,” said David Peterson, chair of the Pan Am / Parapan Am Games organizing committee, TO2015.
The relay’s first torchbearer will depart from Canada Square to travel through the streets of Toronto towards the Distillery Historical District, where a community celebration will take place to conclude the momentous day.
The Torch Relay will be a 41-day journey that will share the Pan Am spirit in more than 130 communities. Deeply rooted in history and tradition, the Pan Am flame was lit during a traditional ceremony in Teotihuacan, Mexico, before it traveled to Canada. The flame will be carried by 3,000 torchbearers over 5,000 km on the road and 15,000 km by air.
Hadfield, famed for his broadcasts from space, said arrival of the Pan Am flame “speaks to our inherent and universal need to feel hope, optimism, belonging and acceptance and it recognizes the power of sport in bringing people together and recognizing our common humanity.”