Update: Canada’s 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay with Kayaks Doesn't Happen [Sad]

Thursday, 12 November 2009
Olympic Torch: Photo Credit: Canadian PressLast week I posted a quick note to let people know that sea kayaking was going to be used as one of the modes of transportation for Canada’s 2010 Winter Olympic torch relay on November 9 in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Sadly, the kayak portion had to be scraped due to ice conditions and darkness.

I got a update by friend of the site and fellow kayak instructor, Alex Stuit who was there and part of the running portion of the relay that day.

[blockquote]Kyle St. Laurent (represented Nunavut at previous Arctic Winter Games and 2003 Canada Winter Games ) was to have originally carried the torch via a traditional “skin boat” kayak from a docking point close to the Iqaluit airport to the bay shore of Apex, approximately 3-4 km according to the interactive map located on here.

This route was changed earlier on November 9 once Olympic Torch relay organizers saw ice conditions. The new route had the Olympic Torch being paddled from the historic Hudson’s Bay Company heritage building beach area to the Apex Bay Shore area. As the darkness descended upon Iqaluit (dusk starts around 1615 hrs EST at this latitude during this time of year) and tide conditions exposed more and more ice conditions in the Bay, the idea of having the torch being transported via kayak fizzled and was substituted with Kyle running the first leg with an Inuit sending him off.

I can't help but feel bad for Kyle St. Laurent, as the idea was great and culturally inclusive, just the timing and northern environmental conditions were something that needed to be seriously considered. As a long-time Northerner and Paddle Canada SK instructor/paddler I was very concerned about the whole idea of kayaking in the dark, in sub-freezing temperatures, amongst yet to be determined ice-conditions due to tides and wind conditions. I was quite relieved when I heard the kayaking plans were changed to a safer alternative.

From Apex, the Olympic flame was carried into Iqualuit and a total of 64 Olympic torch bearers were chosen for this particular honour. I was part of a 20-person torch relay running as "Health Canada" team. A bunch of us volunteer at our local fitness centre (www.atiifitnesscentre.com) and have become friends while working here. It was cool running alongside them all in formation for our 1 km. segment. I was the last torchbearer for our relay team so I had the added pleasure of igniting Susie Pearce's torch...an Inuit role model, Inuit games champion, who then headed down the last 300 m to ignite the community cauldron at the celebration area located at “four corners”, Iqaluit.  Inuit throat singers, drum dancers, hip hop demos, High School choir, fireworks…lots to keep us occupied and provide us an opportunity to share in the celebrations and Olympic spirit leading up to Canada hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

What an incredible bonding experience we all shared. I hope that by way of this short piece, you to can in some way, shape or form, also share in my experience. I’ve got a video of my run segment on my facebook profile, check it out (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  
Paddle smart, Paddle safe,

Alex Stuit
Paddle Canada instructor/Board member
Iqaluit, Nunavut[/blockquote]

Photo Credit: Canadian Press

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo