Col. Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, and Rosie MacLennan, world champion and Olympic and Pan Am trampoline gold medallist, helped kick off Day 1 of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay, presented by President’s Choice® and OLG. To mark the historic day, both Col. Hadfield and MacLennan proudly carried the Pan Am flame through the streets of Toronto to begin the relay’s 41-day journey.
“As a proud Canadian who has worn our flag on my shoulder out alone into the vastness of space, I am honoured to support our athletes and communities by carrying the Pan Am flame!” said Chris Hadfield.
The Pan Am flame arrived at Toronto’s waterfront by float plane and was paddled to shore by the original keepers of the land, represented by the four key Aboriginal partners of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games — the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Six Nations, Métis Nation of Ontario and Huron-Wendat First Nation.
Representatives from the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Toronto also participated in the historic ceremony. Canada Square, the waterside location at Harbourfront Centre, was filled with crowds who helped welcome the flame and took in a special performance by Obeah Opera and an exclusive soundscape produced by local musical director Andrew Craig.
As the first torchbearer of the relay, Rosie MacLennan departed the ceremony carrying the Pan Am flame onto the streets of Toronto, towards the community celebration at The Distillery Historic District.
Col. Hadfield arrived on stage at the community celebration carrying the flame and lit the community cauldron. The celebration also featured high-energy performances by the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, The Chimera Project and Dance Migration. Canadian music star Jasmine Denham also made a special appearance, performing “Together We Are One,” the official song for the TORONTO 2015 Games, for the very first time.
The celebrating and sharing continues as more than 3,000 torchbearers will proudly carry the Pan Am flame in over 130 communities. Several community celebrations will feature exciting entertainment, including the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, Francesco Yates, Crystal Shawanda, Conjunto Lacalú and Quique Escamilla.
Canadians can follow the flame of its journey, when it visits several communities in northern Ontario, including Fort William First Nation, Thunder Bay, Nipigon, Terrace Bay, Marathon, White River and Wawa.