Friday, December 25, 2009

Olympic Torch runs through Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

above: Dec.20, 2009 - crowds line Hwy.55 in Virgil, NOTL, cheering as the Olympic Flame Torch Run arrives.
above: Dec.20, 2009; in Virgil, one of the torch runners leaves the bus
above: Dec.20, 2009 - in Virgil, the passing of the Olympic flame, as another torch is just about to receive the flame. If anyone knows the names of some of the particpants here, please let me know
above: Dec.20, 2009 - as the Olympic flame was making its way down Hwy.55 from Virgil, people were already assembling in Niagara-on-the-Lake, waiting for its arrival along Queen St. by the Courthouse.
above: Dec.20, 2009 - awaiting the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a girl proudly displays a sign reading "My Mom is an Olympian and She is carrying the Olympic torch today"!
above: Dec.20, 2009 - crowds gathered by the NOTL Cenotaph as the Olympic Torch run approaches
above: Dec.20, 2009, people stand on the steps of the Old Courthouse, awaiting the Olympic Torch.
In both Virgil and in Niagara-on-the-Lake's Old Town, there truly was a palpable and authentic joyfulness in the crowds as they assembled in anticipation for the arrival of the Torch. Celebratory outbursts of cheers, hoots and hollers were heard as the Olympic Flame approached, rising in joyous, awe-inspiring support as the Torch bearers came into view and passed. It was amazing, and humbling, to have seen our spirited, local contribution within such a memorable, national chain of events.
It was a proud day to be Canadian.
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Penny Coles wrote in "NOTL vet carries torch on behalf of War Amps" (Niagara Advance, Dec.22, 2009, here):

"Percy Rescorl, a 90-year-old Second World War veteran from NOTL, has the flame passed to him by a young girl on Queen Street.

In the distance, the flashing lights of a police vehicle could be seen making its way toward Virgil, as hundreds of people lined the streets, waving flags in anticipation of the Olympic Torch Relay as it passed through town Sunday.

After the police came the red Coca Cola trucks, loud speakers blasting and employees handing out souvenir Coke bottles, the blue RBC truck with tambourines, all designed to whip the crowd into a frenzy as the torch bearers arrived.

It wasn't necessary - the crowd was there to cheer on their family, friends and neighbours who had been chosen for the honour, already excited and thrilled to witness the flame on its journey to Vancouver, igniting the country as it goes.

Some of the torchbearers were from Grimsby, Beamsville and Jordan, others - like Virgil Public School student Daniel Unger who jogged easily with his torch proudly held high - were from Niagara-on-the-Lake and were swarmed by locals, all were united by the exhilaration of being part of the excitement and Olympic spirit that is uniting Canadians.

Sunday was not the first time Percy Rescorl had proudly represented his country. He fought for Canada in the Second World War, and lost a leg in France. A member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, he was made a member of the Legion d'Honneur, a French order established to reward soldiers for exemplary service in 2007.

He brought up his family in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and has always been and continues to be an amazing man, says his daughters Florence, Lynn and Susanne.

He was proud to be chosen by War Amps Canada to participate in the torch relay, and excited that his family, including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, friends and neighbours would be cheering him on.

"What an honour for this 90-year old vet to be nominated to carry the Olympic Torch for Canada and for the best athletes of the world," said Rescorl, adding that he would carry it with the same pride that he had fighting for his country.

He was taking part in the relay, he said, on behalf of all War Amps, including the young children, The Champs, whose courage and spirit he found inspiring as they learned to adjust to their new limbs.

Due to some confusion about where he would be passed the torch, more than 40 of Rescorl's family and friends waited to cheer him on at Navy Hall, and were saddened to learn, too late, that his turn came along Queen Street, fittingly enough leading up to the NOTL Cenotaph.

But although Rescorl was disappointed not to see his family as he carried the torch, the camaraderie on the shuttle from other torch carriers and the support from Kimberly Ribble, a 2000 Olympian who represented Canada in the sport of judo, helped to make the day a positive experience."

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For his friends and family, I have a video of Mr.Rescorl proudly holding high Canada's Olympic Torch as he passed by the Cenotaph in Niagara-on-the-Lake, on Dec.20, 2009.

video
Thank you, Sir.
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For more photos of Day 52 (Niagara's portion) of the Olympic Torch Run, see the official Vancouver 2010 website here.
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