Northwest ready to welcome the torch

THE NISGA’A tradition of messengers travelling from village to village carrying important news played out last week in the Nass Valley as the word spread about the appearance of the Olympic torch in the valley on Feb. 1. Here

GET READY for a jam-packed day full of activities when the Olympic torch relay arrives in Terrace and the surrounding area.

On Feb. 1 the day will start in Terrace at 9 a.m with a pancake breakfast at the Skeena Mall parking lot at the Salvation Army truck.

Celebrations will begin at the Olympic Celebration stage in front of city hall at noon, and relay sponsor booths will be set up for the public. There will be free toques and Olympic mittens given away on the day, and a draw for youth to win a 30” tall stuffed Olympic mascot Quatchi. Giveaways will start around 11 a.m., and ballots and the draw box will be located near the celebration stage.

The winner of the mascot naming competition will be announced at the celebration stage too, and the Skeena Jr band will perform.

The Olympic Torch Relay will begin on Keith Ave. at Wal-Mart, and the flame will be welcomed by Kitselas First Nations dancers. The relay will then progress to the celebration stage in front of city hall around 2 p.m. where the Sweet Adelines will sing O Canada.

There will then be entertainment, speeches from local dignitaries, and performances by Playback, a local youth rock band and the Skeena Jr. cheerleaders.

Torchrunners will then run the flame through town to the railway car on the millennium trail a little before 3 p.m.

The torch will then travel to Kitsumkalum, where Sarah Peden and Jordan Wesley will be carrying the flame starting at 3:13 p.m. Sarah will run from the Kalum River bridge to the House of Sim-oi-Ghets and the totem pole there. Matriarch Mildred Roberts has been chosen as an honorary elder firekeeper, and will perform a short welcoming and blessing ceremony of the Olympic flame as it comes into the community. Wesley will then take the torch for 300 metres.

Nina Peden, chair of the Kitsumkalum organizing relay committee, said she hopes everybody gets a spot along the route to cheer the runners on. People are asked to bring their drums, banners and noise makers to welcome the torch relay into the community.

A celebration will occur in the Kitsumkalum Hall right after the relay, with a welcome by the hereditary chief, councillors, and the local MP and MLA. Those attending the sold-out celebration will see First Nations dancers and a local “Two Whale Story” performed by Thornhill Elementary students, as well as a slideshow presentation showcasing different athletes in the community.

The torch relay will then move to New Aiyansh, starting at the Nisga’a Lisms Government Building at 4 p.m. and ending at the community hall. Acting government president Kevin McKay and Justin Mercer will be the torchbearers for the community. Dr. Jospeh Gosnell was chosen as the honorary elder firekeeper, and will welcome the Olympic flame into the community through a traditional Nisga’a ceremony. There will be a big fireworks display at the community hall after the last torchrunner has arrived there.

Curt Johnson, member of the 2010 Olympic Torch Committee in the Nass Valley, said the committee is encouraging youth to run behind the torch as it passes through the community.

“We’re really looking forward to the events up here, and we’re really pushing it onto the youth because it’s a once-in-a lifetime opportunity,” Johnson said. “It will really inspire them to set goals and have dreams.”

The gathering on Feb. 1 will begin at 10 a.m. at the New Aiyansh Rec Centre, where a full day is planned – a Nisga’a chiefs ceremony, cultural dance performances, bands, and school performances. A tribal picnic will end off the day, with all four Nisga’a villages sharing dishes with each other.

But the Nisga’a have been celebrating the arrival of the torch run well in advance. Starting Jan. 22, the Nisga’a nation kicked off a 10-day marathon of sports, recreation and activities as a countdown to the arrival of the Olympic Flame. These activities include a fitness program, basketball tournaments, soccer in the snow, tug of war and snow shoe racing. Also planned was a Nisga’a prince and princess contest, essay and poster contests, pancake breakfasts, cook-offs, a gospel music festival and battle of the bands. All events are open to the public.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

Longtime Terrace resident celebrates 100th birthday

Family, friends gathered for brief celebration that included pandemic precautions

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Man found injured in Thornhill

No foul play suspected, RCMP say

Northwest Indigenous governments form new alliance

Alliance intended as way to share resources, maximize opportunities

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. tent camps persist as hotels, housing bought for homeless

Current estimate 40 camps, homeless counts stalled by COVID-19

Most Read