Pan Am Games torch relay begins in Toronto

The Pan Am Games flame arrived in Toronto amid heavy rain on Saturday afternoon and was met with waves of applause from those gathered on the city's waterfront.

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield among Saturday’s torchbearers

Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan is the first of 3,000 people who will carry the Pan Am Games torch ahead of July's event. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan held the lit Pan Am Games torch over her head amid great applause in Toronto on Saturday, then headed outside to begin the torch's 41-day relay.

The Canadian trampoline champion is the first of 3,000 people who will carry the torch on a relay that will take it through 130 communities and to both coasts.

The Games flame arrived in Toronto from Mexico amid heavy rain and was met with waves of applause from those gathered on the city's waterfront. 

The Pan Am Games flame arrived from Mexico amid heavy rain. It was flown to Toronto by a float plane, then paddled to the shore. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
The flame was carried in a float plane that touched down on Lake Ontario before being taken ashore in a canoe and inside Harbourfront Centre. Speakers including Six Nations Chief Ava Hill, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory took turns praising the Games, which run from July 10-26.

One choir sang O Canada, then a children's choir sang a special song all about the torch relay. 

The relay, which continues until the Games begin, will be back in Toronto on July 4 and will include major Canadian cities such as Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Richmond, B.C.

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield will be among the torchbearers carrying the flame through Toronto. 

In total, some 3,000 people will carry the torch during the relay, which will cover more than 5,000 kilometres on the ground and some 15,000 kilometres in the air.

Toronto torch route

Saturday's route continues from Harbourfront Centre and runs east along Queen's Quay, up Yonge Street and across Front Street to the Distillery District.

Hadfield is scheduled to run the torch into the Distillery District.

The Distillery District is host to a public Pan Am torch relay celebration that runs from 1 to 6 p.m.

The Pan American Games are the world's third largest international multi-sport Games behind the Summer Olympic Games and the Asian Games.

More than 7,000 athletes from across the Americas and Caribbean will compete in 36 Pan Am sports and 15 Parapan Am sports.

The Parapan AM Games will have its own torch relay. Two flames will be lit — one in Ottawa and one in Niagara Falls — on Aug. 3. The two flames will travel along the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail for five days before uniting in Toronto.

CBC is the official broadcaster of the Games. For extensive Pan Am coverage before and during The Games, visit or watch on CBC TV. You can also follow along on Twitter with #CBCPanAm.


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