Thursday, June 25, 2015

Days 24 & 25 Winnipeg, Manitoba to Brampton and Richmond Hill, Ontario

After a quick 24 jaunt to Winnipeg, it was back to business in Ontario. Day 24th started at the Loblaw, (President's Choice is one of our sponsors, a branch of Loblaws)  grocery chain headquarters in Brampton. (population around 525,000!)
Posing as one of the new temporary Loblaw employees, in charge of torch bearer experience
The inner courtyard of the building was very impressive, with all of the offices surrounding it.

They even had grocery store displays for show and training purposes.

Over 3,100 people work at the headquarters alone!

We had 4 torchbearers, all Loblaw employees for this segment of the relay.

All of the employees came to their office windows in anticipation of the flame's arrival.

One of the keynote speaker, Kirk, was one of our torchbearers many moons ago up in Thunder Bay

The torch comes to the stage.

Afterwards I grabbed a pic of all of the volunteers who made that special sponsor stop possible
cruising down the 403 highway to our next meeting point in..............

Oakville (population around 182,000), and looking a lot more modern that this remnant from the 50's or 60's.
Sixteen Mile Creek in Oakville leading into Lake Ontario
A big group today in Oakville. Here we are leaving our meeting point, which was also the site of a community celebration at city hall

We dropped off torchbearers en route to city hall, and when we got back, the Pan-Am mascot, Pachi, was there to greet the remaining few.

There may have been more people at this short celebration than in Winnipeg

waiting beside us, was our pilot vehicle, which marked the route earlier, and leads us to where are torchbearers need to be dropped. Also today, in the back, we had more people from the 2016 Rio Olympics torch relay, who were here to observe.

downtown Oakville

 30 minutes back down the highway ..........
to my home away from home for a whopping 1 night, Brampton.

I zoomed in and I can see we are very close to Toronto, where the flame will arrive in time for the opening ceremonies on July 10th.

Day 25, leaving Brampton on the express 407 highway, (toll road, I'm told...)
Heading to our first meeting point of the day in beautiful downtown..........

Vaughn city hall. Vaughn, population about 288,000. Huge populations in the Greater Toronto Area.

We had a couple of guest torch flame exchange specialists from our relay team, Pato and Kayla

There were two groups that had their briefings at Vaughn city hall, this is group one.

and the flame did not disappoint

Hey Haley, your the host, no double dipping, leave the driving to me!

Very large crowd for a lunch time celebration. Like I have said before, some communities really know how to put on a good show.
There he (or she?) is, Pachi, delighting the crowd. (sometimes I think people are happier to see Pachi than the flame.

group two.

family and friend support for one of our torchbearers

The relay is always finding new ways for the flame to travel. Today, we went to Canada's Wonderland amusement park in Vaughn
The flame will travel today on the Leviathan, yikes!

Here comes the torchbearer that will transfer the flame to the one that will travel on  that big scary roller coaster

The flame is in there somewhere, it was hard see, it was travelling so fast.

Within 10 minutes we had left big city and urban sprawl back into farmland as we headed to our last meeting point and the end of day celebration in.........................

The time allotted for the meeting is 1 1/2 hours. Fast forward to a torchbearer group ready to run, jog, walk, and/or dance.

Including Richmond Hill's very own, and three time world champion figure skater Elvis Stojko! What a class act he was. He is focussing his time on car racing, skating coach, and acting. It was an honour to have him on our shuttle.

Elvis waits, surrounded by many, for his moment to carry the Pan-Am flame into the end of day celebration and light the cauldron.

Then home to, how nice for a change, my home away from home for 5 whole nights, the Delta hotel in Markham.

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