Olympic torch hops north

The Olympic torch jumped north on the fifth day of its national relay, going from Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii, then to Yukon and extreme northwestern B.C.

The Olympic torch has made a jump north on the fifth day of the 106-day cross-Canada relay, hopscotching from Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii, then to the Yukon and back to northern B.C.

Stops took place Tuesday at Sandspit, Skidegate and Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, before the flame was put aboard an Air North plane at Comox for a hop to Whitehorse, the Yukon capital.

Community celebration

The torch arrived at 3 p.m. PT in Whitehorse, where 67 residents took turns carrying it to the Kwanlin Dun First Nation from the Beringia Centre, then down Two Mile Hill and Industrial Road to Shipyards Park, for a community celebration.

In addition to 47 individuals, 20 members of the Kwanlin Koyotes — the First Nation's cross-country ski team — were involved in the relay to Shipyards Park.

Runners also carried the torch in Taku River Tlingit territory in the Yukon before wrapping up the day in Atlin, at the extreme northwestern corner of B.C.

The 45,000-kilometre relay began Friday in Victoria and will end Feb. 12 at the opening of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

On Wednesday, the torch will go back into the Yukon and stop in Dawson City and Old Crow — the territory's most northerly community — before crossing the border into Inuvik, N.W.T.

Later in the relay, the torch will head northward again to Alert, Nunavut, which claims to be the northernmost permanently inhabited community in the world.

With files from The Canadian Press