TORONTO – Amidst heavy rains, thunders and rough waters, the Pan Am flame made it to the mainland safely in the City of Toronto during a special ceremony over the weekend.
The flame was carried by air from Mexico to Canada in a float plane, where it was then transferred to a canoe paddled by First Nations peoples from Six Nations and various other communities.
Representatives from Six Nations of the Grand River territory and Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation were on site at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto to officially welcome the flame to Ontario.
Chief Bryan LaForme of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation carried the flame into the ceremony.
LaForme told the Two Row Times, “It’s exciting! It’s a great opportunity for our community. It’s a great opportunity for Toronto. It’s certainly a great opportunity for Ontario as a whole to show the unity that has happened with First Nations in this area as well as the rest of Ontario.”
Chief Ava Hill of Six Nations of the Grand River was also there to welcome the flame and spoke during the event saying, “As one of the host First Nations for the Games, we are very proud to participate with the other Aboriginal leaders in the planning of the many activities that will take place during the Pan Am Games.”
Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne and Aboriginal Affairs minister Andrew Zimmer were also on site to welcome the flame.
The arrival of the flame kicks off a 40 day relay race across Canada, during which approximately 3,000 runners will carry the flame to cities, towns and First Nations communities along the way. During those stops, celebratory events will be held in anticipation of the Pan-Am Games start July 10th.