Sunday, July 12, 2015

Days 40 & 41 Toronto, Ontario

 Wow! My last look at Toronto. (coming back from Toronto Islands)  The 41 days of the 2015 Pan-Am torch relay have flown by and the games have begun. (Canada has 10 medals already, including 5 gold)
Day 40, we had a torchbearer meeting point today at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. There was a small ceremony involving the torchbearer, recognizing the achievements of the centre.

We had a lot of athletes as torchbearers in our final few days, including this young man, Pat Grant, who won a bronze medal in Karate at the 2011 Pan Am games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
and we are ready to go on another torchbearer segment..........

You can see the pride in the faces.

down Queen Street West in Toronto

In the distance I can see a Pan Am banner on a building celebrating the fact the games are coming, and now they are here.

a quick drive by the Ontario College of Art and Design on McCaul Street.

I love the old neighbourhoods, this is just off of Spadina Ave.

Lots to see on Spadina, unfortunately not enough time as usual.
As we stopped at a restaurant for a quick lunch, we randomly saw Chris, of our pilot team, putting up torchbearer stickers (to signify the start of a torchbearer segment) for day 41

and this massive "thing", was the home of our second meeting point, Toronto City Hall. (this is the backside)

anybody home?

Looking out from city hall, perfect torchbearer weather.
The start of this group was at the Pan Am athletes village. This huge tent is the security check point. The village is in behind. It was exciting to see athletes from all over the Americas arriving for the games.

We decided to get out of the stuffy city hall office and drive down to the front of athlete's village to let the torchbearers soak in some of the atmosphere.

Pretty soon we had volunteers and athletes jumping in for pictures with the torch.

a surprise guest was on the street to cheer on a special torchbearer. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Govenor of Ontario, was here to see a retired O.P.P. (Ontario Provincial Police) officer, who is now one of her security bodyguards.
Looking up Front Street East, you can see the Gooderham building in the forefront of the downtown core.

The end of day celebration was by far our biggest yet, held right downtown at Nathan Phillip Square, at the intersection of Queen Street West and Bay Street.  

and who did I run into?, none other than Kyle, who was one of the host on the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay.

Wow, the final day of the relay, day 41. The torchbearer meeting will now come to order.

We decided to combine two groups together for one meeting. So Haley and Serena shared the hosting duties.

That's how you do it folks!
Looking outside our meeting point and one of the headquarters for Pan Am games time was the Westin Harbour Castle.

This was definitely the largest crowds we have seen on the streets. This was on University Ave.

Awesome support outside of the United States Consulate.

We combined the final two groups of the day, this time it was Haley and Catherine.

I was not clear what we were doing with our final group, but it started becoming clear when I saw this passenger ferry behind our meeting point.

That means no shuttle, so we loaded up our torchbearers on the ferry, as well as ourselves and the rest of our team, including security, bike escorts, command, media and advance people,

and headed for Toronto Islands
Our torchbearer took the flame across the water on the ferry.

It was so cool over there, it was literally a run through the park for the torchbearers. (here our escort runner, Tabitha waits with the torchbearer)

There's Jamie, on our advance team today, and one of our versatile "do everything" team members
Centre Island Fountain.

hard to see, but there is a flame exchange in there

The perks of the relay, you get to see so much.

What a way to end the relay.

Haley and one of our pilots, Reily, pose on one of our relay vehicles for the afternoon, a bunch of golf carts.

The torchbearer runs behind the cart, with the media people taking pics and filming on the back.

Outside the Royal Canadian Yacht Club Clubhouse.
One of my last full views of Toronto on this relay.

The island is hosting the sailing portion of the Pan Am games. Fitting the flame went on a sailboat for a trip across the water back to downtown.

On the ferry back to reality

Where it all began, the Pan Am offices in the Corus building
After some tears and hugs, it was back to the hotel in Yorkdale for some final business, decommissioning the vehicles. (getting all the equipment and junk we have accumulated out of all the vehicles.)

At night we went to a local bar to watch the opening ceremonies of the Pan Am Games on T.V. (here is the Canadian Team making their way into the Rogers Centre)

Steve Nash was the final torchbearer

One last chance to hold the flame, it now resides in a cauldron at the Pan Am Celebration Venue beside the C.N. Tower

Everyone took a turn, including Shirka and Jamie

and just like that, it was over and I was off to the airport.

Seems so long ago that we started our relay in Thunder Bay way back at the end of May. (but yet it went by so fast)
En-route to Vancouver, I suppose it's time to get my head out of the clouds and come back down to earth. Next?

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