Olympic torch fires up Brantford core

Brantford’s downtown saw thousands come out to celebrate the Olympic Torch Relay passing through town on Monday December 21. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., crowds gathered at the City Hall parking lot were entertained by the evening’s MC, Brantford Town Crier, David McKee who introduced a performance by Laurier Brantford’s KAOS dance team and Brantford Hype Cheerleaders. A short video presentation was also shown, and The Grand River Chorus sang “There is a Light” before the torch relay began at Colborne St. East and Linden Rd.

The last torch bearer who eventually lit the Olympic cauldron was Brantford native, Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan is a middle distance runner who has competed in the Olympics three times, most recently in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Of the 45,000 km the torch will travel, Brantford was responsible for approximately 12.5km, about 4.7 km on the 21 and 7.8 km on the 22 before passing the torch into Paris early Tuesday morning.

Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola and RBC both had booths set up at City Hall, providing interactive activities for crowd members. The RBC trailer taught participants about different ways to be environmentally friendly, how to save energy, and alternative energy. Judo Olympian Kimberly Ribble-Orr signed autographs and took pictures with crowd members just outside the stand.

Coca-Cola’s booth gave participants a chance to be photographed with a torch, and had eleven past torches, a Polar Bear game and a drum pole set up for kids. Event-goers were also able to sign a sheet wishing Canadian althletes good luck that will be displayed in Vancouver at the games. Coca-Cola also gave out plastic light-up Coke bottles and Coke samples in specially designed bottles.

Mayor Mike Hancock was presented with a plaque and an Olympic torch that will be displayed in City Hall. Kevin Sulivan also spoke, giving the audience inspirational advice.

“If you want to achieve anything in life, you have to dream. Set your sights high; don’t settle for something below youself.”

Peeler, a Brantford-based rock band, gave a musical performance singing original songs, as well as covering Canadian artists Sam Roberts and Neil Young.

After the Olympic flame had been safetly stored away in a lantern and the cauldron had been put out, the crowd followed stiltwalker Doug Hunt to the after party at Harmony Square put on by the Brantford Olympic Torch Relay Task Force. Attendees also enjoyed skating; music sung by the Frank DeFelice Band; a “Champions on Ice” show featuring local youths hockey, figure skating, and curling teams; and a concert by special guest performer Suzie McNeil.

The Olympic flame left Brantford the next morning out of Harmony Square down Brant Ave. and carried on towards Paris.

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