Edmonton

Olympic torch hits northern Alberta

The Olympic torch made its first appearance in Alberta Friday as it wound its way through the northern part of the province.

The Olympic torch made its first appearance in Alberta on Friday as it wound its way through the northern part of the province.

Residents in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and Cold Lake were visited by the flame on Day 8 of its 106-day journey as it makes its way to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Jim Richards, the director of the torch relay, was impressed by the warm Albertan welcome.

"The crowd is absolutely phenomenal. That's where you really see the spirit of the Games that's taking place. It's in the crowd, it's these people who are proud to be Canadian, proud to be Albertan and proud of their athletes."

The torch was greeted by hundreds of protesters in Victoria when it arrived in Canada just over a week ago. But momentum for the relay is clearly building, Richards said.

"This is Day 8 of the relay … and it just keeps getting better. Every day is better and better."

After touring Alberta, the flame headed to La Ronge, Sask., and Thompson, Man.

It will return to Alberta in January for visits to Lloydminster, Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat and Banff.

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