Free the flame, Olympic fans say

Olympic fans take pictures of the cauldron Tuesday morning

Olympic fans take pictures of the cauldron Tuesday morning



VANCOUVER – The location of the Olympic cauldron on the Vancouver waterfront is ideal – if you’re allowed into the main media centre.

If you’re an Olympic tourist, not so much. Crowds circled a construction site next to the cauldron Tuesday, as they have every day of the 2010 Games, trying to get a souvenir picture through the chain-link fence that kept them from the broad empty plaza.

Tracey Groot and her son Randall came down from Smithers to see Team Canada play in the Olympic hockey tournament. After a visit to the flaming glass-and-aluminum sculpture at the foot of Thurlow Street, they retreated back up the hill to get a picture at a distance.

“There’s lots of people around so it’s tough to get a good picture, and there’s a big chain-link fence, so even if you get a good picture it’s tough,” Randall said. “It’s still cool to be down there.”

Tracey was disappointed: “I just thought we would go right up and actually touch it.”

Other Olympic visitors say it’s kids who insist on seeing the real thing after watching hockey legend Wayne Gretzky light it at the opening ceremonies. A daycare group came down Tuesday morning, but youngsters couldn’t see much.

“We can see it better from our playground,” the caregiver assured her young charges as she pushed a stroller away.

Premier Gordon Campbell said Tuesday he has discussed the issue with Olympic organizers and they are working around the clock to find a solution.

“It’s been incredibly popular, and that’s a great thing,” Campbell said in an interview. “Now we want to solve the problem and I think VANOC will do that.”

Asked if a viewing platform could be put in place, Campbell said that is one possibility.

“People would like to have a clear shot of the cauldron without the fence in between, I certainly get that,” he said. “It’s just the magic of the games that connected to that cauldron.”

He noted the irony that Vancouver’s Olympic flame is closer to the people than most previous games, where the cauldron has typically been high in the air.

For tourists pressed against the fence, it is so near but so far.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Landis Carmichael is the Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the Emergency Services Award winner. (Photo courtesy Landis Carmichael)
29-year-old firefighter has spent almost half his life with Langford department

Landis Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Emergency Services Award

Shannon Davis, manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, holds up the largest available bag of popcorn available for sale at the theatre. It also also sells four smaller sizes in generating revenue following its closure last fall because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney theatre fills bottom line with popcorn sales

Theatre applying to return to doing our household-only private rentals

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Most Read