Thousands Line Streets, Fill Nathan Phillips Square as Olympic Torch Travels Through Toronto

By Susan O'Neill December 21, 2009, 1:53 PM EST

Vicky Sunohara carried the flame into Nathan Phillips Square


Thousands of people lined city streets to catch a glimpse of the Olympic flame as the torch relay made its way through Toronto from Thursday to Saturday. The festivities also included a two-hour concert in Nathan Phillips Square with music and dance performances on Thursday evening.

The flame—lit in Olympia, Greece, on October 22—arrived in Toronto shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday, when the relay entered the city at Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue. More than 260 torchbearers carried the flame on a 48-km journey through the city before the relay, planned by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, entered Mississauga on Saturday morning.

Famous torchbearers included filmmakers Jason and Ivan Reitman as well as several former Olympians like rower Marnie McBean and hockey player Vicky Sunohara, who lit the cauldron during Thursday's event outside city hall.

That ceremony—delayed by close to an hour due to a native protest that disrupted the torch run on Yonge Street—included performances by dance troupes such as the Samba Squad and the Enrique Spanish Dance Co., musical performances by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and singer-songwriter Suzie McNeil, and entertainment by groups like Suspended Animation Circus, Circus Orange, and Rick Davis Promotions, which produced a trampoline act.

The city also commissioned “Convergence,” a dance performance choreographed by Alejandro Ronceria with music directed by Rick Lazar. The production involved 44 performers who incorporated live music and dance inspired by customs of welcome from Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas.

Relay events also included a public celebration with buskers and a sledge hockey demonstration at Scarborough Civic Centre on Thursday afternoon. And student artwork illustrating what the spirit of the flame means to them was displayed in the rotunda at city hall all weekend.

The 106-day cross-Canada torch relay ends in Vancouver in February. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games take place February 12 to 28.

Correction: This story has been updated to credit Rick Davis Promotions with the production of the trampoline act.

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