REPORTING · 4th February 2010
School children, teachers and people from around the community gathered in the Riverlodge Parking Lot on February 1st to witness the Torch travel through lower Kitimat from Riverlodge to Shopper's Drug Mart. The Relay began with a stage show featuring speakers from around the Sacred Circle.
Kassianna Whitehead was called to the stage to sing “O Canada.” MP Nathan Cullen was called to the stage. He expressed excitement in the torch moving across Northern British Columbia. He suggested Canada would take home their first gold medal while on Canadian soil during the upcoming games. MLA Robin Austin took the stage next. After psyching up the roar of the crowd with the suggestion that Canada was going to bring home the gold in hockey, he encouraged everyone to support the athletes by watching the Olympics.
Gwen Sheasgreen, Chairperson for the advisory recreation commission stepped up next. She encouraged everyone to cheer for the torch. Tino Pereira, Plant Manager and Director of BC Operations for Rio Tinto Alcan spoke next. He expressed that it was difficult to believe the Olympic torch was in Kitimat.
“The Olympic Flame is a symbol of peace, brotherhood and friendship. All the principles that our community embraces and are evident through the community's passion in sports.” said Pereira.
Fern Fontes from the Royal Bank of Canada stepped up next and stated communities like Kitimat were participating in the Olympic games through the passing of the torch through the community. Pat Bell, Minister of Forestry stepped up next to speak. He introduced himself as a former Olympic Torchbearer when the Winter Olympics were in Calgary.
He got everyone to cheer loudly enough to be “heard in Terrace” for the woman’s hockey tournament during the Olympics. “The Olympics are about taking adversity and turning it into a championship. Great Athletes… Really great athletes are at their best when times are toughest and that is what Kitimat’s about right now. I know you have a bright future in Kitimat. We’re going to use the Olympics as a kick off point and Kitimat’s are going to be champions as well,” said Bell.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan was called up to the podium next. She joked about the speeches being ahead of schedule. She recognized four girls from the Kitimat Ice Valley Skating Club who qualified for the Pacificskate Provincial Championships in Kamloops in March. The girls are: Jessica Almeida, Brittany Abercrombie, Amanda Billingsley and Kendra Brousseau.
Monaghan presented medals to students from Nechako, St Anthony's and Mount Elizabeth Secondary School who participated in the Olympic Spirit events in the weeks leading up to the relay.
Students from Nechako were awarded medals for their grades. Chelsea Wright, Paige Collier, Sydney Bovingdon, Jacob Webber, Carter Danis and Taylor Ashcroft were awarded medals.
From Saint Anthony's Elementary School, Kaitlin Ferreira accepted the Gold for Primary while Kyle Harnadek accepted the Gold for intermediate. The Silver went to Bradley Lojstrup from Primary and Adrian Illanueva from Intermediate. The Bronze went to Brendan Gaspar from Primary and Maddison Dos Santos from Intermediate.
Sue Dobbin collected the awards from Mount Elizabeth. The Winner of the Hawk Air Trip that was drawn from people who participated in exercising was Natalie Rollin who took part in the Boot Camp program at Riverlodge.
During this time, the procession preceding the torch arrived to prepare the crowd to receive the torch. The first of Kitimat’s torchbearers arrived at noon and the crowd was given opportunity to take photos prior to the lighting of the torch. The flame arrived from Kitamaat Village and the torch was lit and began to weave its way through Kitimat via 8 different torchbearers.
The people who carried the torch in Kitimat were: Alex Wyder, Greg Kingdon, Cheryl Beattie, Jane Treweeke, Kwan Ping Law, Laurence Robinson, David Robert Brown and Michel Valois
Laurel Vaadeland carried the torch through Burns Lake. Here she poses with the olympic symbol with several Kitimat youth.
Kassianna Whitehead sings "O Canada". The Guests of honour stand in the background.
Mayor Monaghan recognizes several skaters who qualified for the Championships in Kamloops in March. The girls are: Jessica Almeida, Brittany Abercrombie, Amanda Billingsley and Kendra Brousseau.
The torch leaves Riverlodge to traverse Kitimat.