Thursday, 10 December 2009

On the passing of the Olympic Flame

Mark and I were walking to a restaurant in Old Montreal this evening when as we passed in front of Notre-Dame Basilica. We noticed there were a certain number of people standing around as if something was about to happen. I then noticed that there was a woman dressed mostly in white wielding a curved aluminum object in one hand. Suddenly, I realized that she was an Olympic torch bearer waiting for the flame to arrive at which time her aluminum torch would be lit as part of the relay. We decided to wait on the steps of Notre-Dame to see the procession go by. Unfortunately, this probably took about half an hour, though the cold might have altered my perception of the passage of time. (Winter has arrived in Montreal and the biking season is over for me.)

As we waited, I realized that the last time I had watched an Olympic torch relay was on television at the St-Pierre's (family friends) in North Hatley for the Montreal Olympics! I remember very vividly alternately watching the torch make it's way to the stadium and going outside to play with my brothers on the St-Pierre's lawn. (I was 5 1/2 and my attention span wasn't great. Plus their lawn was cool. Well, at least to me then) That was the first memory I have where I know where I was when an international event happened.

There were any number of police cars blocking off traffic, as well as keeping assorted protesters at bay. However, my contrarian instincts wondered how much of a police escort there would be on the flame's passage along the C&W Rail Trail West of Castlegar, including the long and very dark Bulldog Tunnel. Come to think of it, it would probably be quite nice to have a flaming torch if you are going to go through the Bulldog Tunnel, especially in winter! It was more than a little spooky when I went through with a head lamp in September!

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