By Jared Zipman
The 2017 Canada Games torch has been lit in the city, ladies and gentlemen. On Wednesday, July 25 2017, at 9:30 in the morning, Winnipeg’s one and only Dancin’ Gabe represented the city as the first relay runner heading out of downtown’s Memorial Park.
This torch has had quite a long run leading up to its debut in the city. It’s hit hundreds of communities stretching over 3,500 kilometres in most corners of the province.
Once it made its way to the city, the final three hours of its journey was through the streets of Winnipeg. Starting at Memorial Park, the torch journeyed from the ever-beautiful Via Rail train station, then into our French Quarter, St. Boniface, before moving along to The Forks, the Exchange and the Manitoba Legislature. It finished its trek in the heart of downtown Winnipeg.
Some of the notable people who were selected as torch bearers at this event were: Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, an activist in the Winnipeg community Wilma Derksen, 1989 Canada Games athlete Brad Bouchard, and the youngest to run the torch is 13 year-old Shyah Coss.
Hot dogs were eaten, crowds were cheerin’, the sun was bright and shinin’, and by the end of the day, we’re ready for the games. It’s been 50 years since the Canada Games were initiated in Quebec City, QC, in 1967. Since then, the torch has been sent around the country 25 times (as the games happen every two years).
The initial torch relay for the Games started in Steinbach, before continuing through Kenora, Morden, Gillam/Fox Lake Cree Nation, Thompson, The Pas/Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Dauphin, Gimli, Sagkeeng/Great Falls and Brandon.
At 12:30 p.m. when the torch relay finally finished its journey in downtown Winnipeg, there was a free BBQ for anyone and everyone. All 67 torchbearers were able to socialize with their friends and family, eat some great food, and celebrate that the games are about to commence.
Let the Games begin!
Photos by Keith Levit and Lucas Yakemow