The lighting of the Olympic Flame; Transportation changes one step closer

Lighting of the Olympic Flame
The longest domestic Torch Relay in history actually begins in Greece today (Thursday, October 22nd) with a traditional ritual lighting ceremony in Olympia. Olympia is the home of the Olympic Flame and the site where the Ancient Olympic Games took place. During the ‘Lighting Ceremony’ the Olympic Flame is lit by sunlight focused on a metal reflector (this is the only way that the flame can be lit). Once the Olympic Flame is lit and placed in an urn, the high priestess (played by Maria Nafpliotou who was born and lives in Athens and also played this role during the 2008 Beijing Torch Relay) brings it to the Pierre de Coubertin monument and hands it over to the first torchbearer marking the start of the eight-day Greek stage of the Olympic Flame’s journey. The ‘Handover Ceremony’ will take place on October 29, when the flame is transferred to representatives of VANOC who will bring it back to Canada. The Canadian stage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay will begin on October 30, 2009 in Victoria, BC and will bring the flame to over 1,030 communities on a 106-day journey across the country.

Transportation Update
On October 14th VANOC and its partners released the second phase of their 2010 Winter Olympic Games integrated transportation plan. The plan includes a very colorful street map that can be viewed here and includes designated Olympic Lanes for TransLink buses and Olympic accredited vehicles only from February 4 to March 1, 2010, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These Olympic Lanes will be in the curb, or right-hand lane and effect Burrard, Seymour, Howe, Pender, Cambie, Broadway, Georgia and Hastings Streets at various locations. As stated on the 2010 Host City website “Residents, businesses and visitors can expect rush hour conditions and parking restrictions in Downtown Vancouver 24 hours a day during Games time”.

On Tap for Next Week’s Olympics for Locals
Game Plan 2009 is an information session that will help people better understand the operations leading up to and during the Games in an open-house setting with stations focused on areas such as venue and transportation operations, security and public safety. The intent of the events is to provide an opportunity for those living or working in a Games-venue neighborhood to learn more and ask questions. Sessions will be held at the Coal Harbour Community Center on October 28th, the Vancouver Public Library on October 29th and the Roundhouse Community Center in Yaletown on October 30th.