Torch makes local stop Feb. 8 on way to 2010 Winter Games

Exact route through town still shrouded in secrecy

The Olympic flame will roll into Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows sometime on Feb. 8. Exactly when remains to be announced.

As for the route it takes in each community – that is also to be announced.

“We know it’s coming early in the morning. That’s all we know,” said Bonnie Telep, co-chair of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ Spirit of B.C. Community Committee.

“They haven’t announced the torch runners yet. They keep it real hush-hush until 10 days,” before the event.

As has been shown across the country, the arrival of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay will bring out the crowds in a wave of patriotism and enthusiasm, local organizers are sure of it.

The relay is drawing huge crowds across the country, “and we will too. I just know we will,” Telep said.

So does Kyle McLellan, chair of the local Olympic Torch Relay task force.

After sending e-mails last week to local sports and entertainment groups, McLellan has received hundreds of replies from people wanting to know how to get involved. He knows of a similar-sized community on Vancouver Island where the event drew between 60 and 70 per cent of the population.

Organizers want such groups involved to enrich the celebration of the relay, which will stop briefly in the Spirit Squares of both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows early Feb. 8. Both are designated as route communities so there won’t be any lengthy stops in each. The school district has also been approached so school kids can catch the event.

Recreation director Kelly Swift says the plans for the day are expanding as interest grows.

“We’re getting tons of interest from community groups. Since we started talking about it, it’s grown. I think it’s going to be quite a fun morning.”

McLellan said the route the relay will follow through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be released around Jan. 22. The Vancouver Organizing Committee waits until just two weeks before the event because it considers the local reception, the events planned in each community, as well as security concerns, after consultation with the RCMP’s Vancouver 2010 integrated security unit.

Some of the transportation modes used so far include a Haida canoe, a military truck, a logging truck, horseback and horse and buggy.