TO2015 Unveils Pan Am Torch and Names First Torchbearers

Torchbearers model brand-new torchbearer uniform

TORONTO, March 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Olympian Simon Whitfield joins a Canadian forces veteran, a Toronto Police Service's officer and a music-loving teen in being named the first torchbearers to carry the flame in the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay, presented by President's Choice® and OLG. 

Today, the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) and its relay partners announced 10 torchbearers, and unveiled the torch and torchbearer uniform.

Joining Whitfield among the relay's 3,000 torchbearers will be Pat Israel (63), Michael Crawford (51), Cameron Sault (28), Bob Cassels (74), Tanisha Martinez (22), Francis Atta (28), Melanie Byland (29), Zsofia Balazs (24) and Denzel Innis (17). To learn more about these torchbearers, visit www.toronto2015.org/torch-relay/torchbearers.

"The torch is a unique symbol of the Pan Am Games and carries a powerful energy that will unite Canadians," said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TO2015. "The torchbearers will proudly carry the flame through more than 130 communities, igniting the Pan Am spirit as they go."

Featured on the torch are the colourful United We Play! pictograms —depictions of people in motion —symbolizing the assembly of athletes through the celebration of sport and culture. The aluminum torch stands 65 centimetres high and weighs 1.2 kilograms (or roughly the same weight as a baseball bat). With a burn time of 10 to 12 minutes, the flame can withstand winds of up to 70 kilometres per hour and is visible in all kinds of weather conditions.

"A torch relay is powerful and patriotic," said Simon Whitfield, Olympic gold and silver medallist and Pan Am bronze medallist. "I'm looking forward to that moment as it truly is an honour to represent my community and Canada."

During the 41-day torch relay, each of the 3,000 torchbearers will complete, on average, a 200-metre relay segment. The torch will be carried by more than 60 modes of transportation and exceed 5,000 kilometres on the road and 15,000 kilometres by air.

As part of a March break activation featuring Pan Am activites, the torch will be on display at the CN Tower, the Official Attraction of the Games, until Friday, March 20, 2015. This is the one and only location to see the torch until the start of the torch relay, when the Pan Am flame is lit in a traditional ceremony in Teotihuacan, Mexico, before it travels to Canada.

About the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay  
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay, presented by President's Choice® and OLG, is supported by community partner CIBC and signature supporters Star Media Group and Metroland Media, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Porter Airlines. The torch relay will invite Canadians to celebrate and share the Pan Am spirit throughout its 41-day journey towards Toronto, the Host City of the Games.

The torch relay starts May 30, 2015, and concludes July 10, 2015, with the dramatic lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in downtown Toronto.

The TORONTO 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as Lead Partner CIBC and other partners and sponsors.

For more information, visit TORONTO2015.org/torch-relay

Quote Sheet:

The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport):

"The excitement generated by the relay will be felt from coast to coast to coast as this remarkable torch and these wonderful torchbearers make their way through major cities across Canada, they will be forging ties between communities and showcasing our country, thanks to an investment from the Government of Canada."

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario:

"It is a privilege to present the 50 youth heroes chosen to represent the province of Ontario as our torchbearers for the 2015 Pan Am Games. In going above and beyond to help their fellow citizens, the courage and bravery of these extraordinary young people is inspiring. These Pan Am torchbearers embody the spirit of the Games and we are proud to have them showcase our province on the world stage."

Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto:

"When the torchbearers carry the flame through our great city, they will ignite a sense of pride and community in the lead up to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.  I encourage all Torontonians, to come out and cheer on the torchbearers and share in the experience."

Chief Bryan LaForme, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation:

"As Host First Nation, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) is pleased to announce one of our torchbearers; Cameron Sault who will carry the torch and represent our First Nation on June 19 alongside Feather Carriers representing the seven generations of MNCFN. We welcome the opportunity to showcase and share our unique traditions and culture with the world.  This is a historic opportunity to build new, better relationships globally marked by recognition and respect."

Uwe Stueckmann, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Loblaw Companies Limited:

"President's Choice is a proud supporter of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games, feeding the thousands of athletes and volunteers as they bring the Games to life this summer. As a proud Presenting Partner of the Torch Relays, we understand the importance of making great things accessible to Canadians – from amazing food products, to one-of-a-kind experiences. We are delighted to help bring the torch to our customers and colleagues in communities across the country, and to share the spirit of the 2015 Games."

Stephen Rigby, President and CEO, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG):

"The excitement is building across the province for the start of TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay. OLG has a proud history of championing amateur athletics in Ontario through Quest for Gold and the torch relay will be a great opportunity to celebrate that history."

Stephen Forbes, Executive Vice-President, CIBC, the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games:

"As Community Partner of the Torch Relay, we are proud to be part of bringing such a key symbol of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to Canadians. More than 3,000 torchbearers, like CIBC Pan Am Youthvision scholarship winner Denzel Innis, as well as many of our clients, employees and CIBC Team Next athletes, will carry the flame with pride and inspire passion for the Games."

SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

Image with caption: "Pan Am torch (CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150316_C6804_PHOTO_EN_13302.jpg

Image with caption: "Pan Am torch (CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150316_C6804_PHOTO_EN_13303.jpg

Image with caption: "Today, TO2015 and its relay partners announced the first 10 torchbearers, and unveiled the torch and torchbearer uniform. (CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150316_C6804_PHOTO_EN_13304.jpg

For further information: Carlene Siopis, Manager, marketing and communications, TO2015, 647.206.0259, relaymedia@toronto2015.org

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Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

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TORONTO 2015 Torch Relay

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