The 2019 Canada Winter Games are just under five months away and over 100 Canadians were recently announced as torchbearers for the MNP Canada Games Torch Relay.
The relay, which will start on Oct. 4th with the lighting of the torch in Ottawa with the Centennial Flame, will run right across the country — with the torch returning to Alberta in January.
Heather Buelow, owner of Dancer’s Edge Studio in Lacombe and Blackfalds, was one of the torchbearers named and will run through Blackfalds on January 29th, 2019.
“I am very excited. I couldn’t be happier to represent Blackfalds in the Canada Winter Games,” Buelow said, adding she had no idea she was nominated when she received the call earlier this summer.
“I got a call in the summer time and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Of course I said yes, yes, yes right away and the hardest part was that I had to keep it a secret until today.
“I am pumped to be able to tell the world that I will be representing Blackfalds running with the torch.”
Games Society Chair Lyn Radford said it is exciting to see the Games beginning to involve the entire country.
“So much of this has been around the city and Central Alberta,” Radford said. “Now we have the opportunity to involve people from around this nation, not just the athletes.”
Radford took great joy in being able to read the many nominations they received from all across Canada.
“When you read about those nominations and what those community members are doing across this nation, it really brings it down to the grassroots level,” she said. “We have a country that at times is very divided politically, but when you read what is happening in these local communities you recognize we have a strong, sustainable country that will get through all the bumps we have together.”
After the torch is lit in Ottawa, it will first make its way east to the Maritimes; followed by a trip through Quebec and Ontario; followed by stops in the eastern prairies before skipping Alberta for some stops in B.C.
“We will bring the torch back into Alberta in the beginning of January,” Radford said. “We have not announced the Red Deer torchbearers on purpose. We want to make our community a little excited about it and we will spread that out a bit more.”
Each torchbearer will run between around 200 m to 1km and the torch is designed to be able to weigh enough to still be lifted by children and youth.
“This is to make sure it is manageable for everyone and everyone can participate,” Radford said.
She added planning for the Games, “Is going really well. We still have a little fundraising still to go but it is getting there. Ticket sales will start in September. That all makes it really real.”
The 2019 Canada Winter Games run from Feb. 15th to March 3rd, 2019 in Red Deer. Profiles on the various torchbearers can be found at canadagames.ca/2019/mnptorchrelay.