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63 days to go – A day I’ll never forget!

December 10, 2009

I’m going to begin at the beginning, but seriously, today was beyond anything I could have imagined!!  I am going to put quite a few photos in of today as well as some links to some videos.  (Oh, and I have a card reader now, yes, I broke down and bought one, so I’ll try to add some photos to the 64 days to go post, but that may not be until tomorrow… 🙂 ).

Olympic signs in Montreal. Photo by Amy.

First of all, I’m not sure which time zone I’m in, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Vancouver, nor Montreal.  Luckily, Amy seems to be somewhere between the two as well.  We got up a bit late by Montreal time, but enjoyed a calm and relaxed morning before heading to rue St-Catherine for a little shopping (I had been told Simons is the place to go and Amy had a list!).  So we did that, had some lunch and dropped our shopping at the hotel before heading to rue St-Denis (silly predictive text on my phone tweeted it as rue St-Denial, oops!) to watch the Torch Relay pass.

Waiting for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch to pass. Amy snuck videos in as well!

I love my mobile phone, but somehow I don’t have Flash working on it so I had to call Jonathan in Vancouver to check the Interactive Torch Map to let me know how far away the Torch was so that we didn’t stand outside freezing for too many hours (thank you so much Jonathan!!)!!  The first thing you hear is the sirens… then the lights on the police cars appear around a corner… There are a lot of police cars as they set up their rolling road block, but it’s really quite cool!  The cops will even cheer the crowd on from their loudspeaker a bit as they drive past!  Of course it was en français, but it was fun nonetheless!  Then the RBC and Coca-Cola ‘prep the crowd’ vehicles go by… handing out RBC tambourines, flags, Coca-Cola, and glowing Coca-Cola bottles… They play music and cheer the crowd on, and we cheer back!

The Coca-Cola Happiness Truck, Amy took the photo and then had to run to get a light-up Coca-Cola bottle!

Then comes the Torch.  It was already quite dark for us when the Torch came, and the first thing I could see was the Flame coming down the hill.  Everyone is cheering and happy and it was a lot of fun, though it all does happen very fast!  I have also learned that my mobile phone does not take very good night-time photos of Torches… 🙂  By the time the Torch had passed, Amy and I were quite cold so we ducked into a cafe for a warm-up beverage before heading down to Vieux (Old) Montreal for the Celebration Ceremonies.

Amy made it and we got some neat flags as well as the glowing Coca-Cola bottles!

Now, at this point, it would be possible for me to say that the protesters that were at the Celebration site at Place Jacques-Cartier nearly ruined the night for everyone.  There were quite a lot of them, and they did charge the stage quite early on, and they were a bit scary, and they did delay the start of the festivities… however, I do always look at the bright side of things, and I have a few comments.  The police did a wonderful job in moving the protesters in a calm and orderly fashion to the side so that those of us that wanted to celebrate could be close enough to participate.  Most of the crowd really wanted to be there to see the Torch and experience the excitement.  And finally, I find that thinking about and acknowledging the protesters doesn’t help, I tried to put them out of my mind and focus on what I was here for, what I wanted to experience and am very happy to say that I think I accomplished that.

In the crowd, waiting for the celebrations to really get underway!

As we got closer to the stage I received a tweet from @olympicreporter Jeff Lee from the Vancouver Sun, whom I had spoken with earlier in the day.  I think it was the first time in my life that the word ‘crazy’ had been used so many times in one sentence to describe me, but it was in a good way.  The tweet was a link to his most recent blog post, talking about this blog and how much I love the Olympics.  Thanks so much Jeff, for writing about me, I had hoped that if anyone ever would, it would be you.  If you’d like to read what he wrote, please check it out on his blog “Inside the Olympics“.

Not long after the Torch came into the Place and we were all pretty darned excited!  There was some singing and drumming.  And then the Torch arrived and it was pretty wonderful.  The cauldron in Montreal was lit by Guylaine Bernier, an Olympic rower!

The cauldron in Montreal is lit! Amy's photo - my video.

And here, where we’re just about to go find dinner, and we’re so close to Montreal’s cauldron, so close to the Olympic Flame, is when the emcee said “You’re here for history being made in Montreal!” and I started crying again (I had been crying at the end of the Torch lighting, which is why my video suddenly gets a bit bouncy).  And Amy gave me a hug and it was wonderful, then surprising as CTV was there asking “Is it the Flame that is making you cry?”.

Yes, the Flame makes me cry.  People coming together in hope, and love, and excitement makes me cry.  Very happy tears.  It was a wonderful day… and we had a wonderful dinner after in Vieux Montreal (we didn’t stay for all of the party as we were happy, hungry and cold!!).  And now I’m sharing it with you…

However… if you happen to have seen us on CTV, or know where I can find a copy, I would much appreciate it… I’ve heard that Jo-Anne saw it broadcast… I hope I’m not crying too much!! 😀

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PS – Please take a few minutes to enter my latest pin contest if you haven’t already.  Up for grabs are some of the new HBC Mascot pins!  Check out the details on how to enter here!

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OK – I’m off to bed and will be flying home tomorrow, though I’m hoping to still see the Olympic Stadium here, and have another wonderful coffee or two before leaving this beautiful city.  But I’d just like to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to be a part of any of this and even more so that you’ve taken the time to share it with me.  Merci Montreal!  Merci Readers!  Merci Canada!                         (Yes, I’m still a little soppy and emotional… and likely will be for a few days… 🙂 but merci for sticking by me anyway!).

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    December 10, 2009 10:41 pm

    So very cool, I wish I was there with you! I am happy you had such a great time.

    See you soon!

  2. Rachael permalink
    December 10, 2009 10:57 pm

    Awesome shout out from Jeff. We went to the celebration in Duncan on the island, I’m so glad you could be part of it too.

  3. Bob permalink
    December 11, 2009 12:13 am

    The good news is that the media seems to have tired of the protestors and is giving them hardly any airtime concentrating on the upbeat, positive celebrations.

  4. Marsi permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:22 am

    What an awesome blog! Keep up the good work!!!!!

  5. nancy lynds permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:27 am


  6. anotheruseforpoppies permalink
    December 11, 2009 3:13 pm

    Hey there,

    I just found your blog and I think it is fantastic! Way to get into the spirit. I am looking forward to following it over the next couple months. Cheers!! I actually just blogged yesterday about the Olympics! I have added your link to my blog roll.

    If you enjoy mine, feel free to do the same! Perhaps I will see you around town during the Games.


  7. December 11, 2009 8:27 pm

    So happy for you making the trip to Montreal and seeing the Flame. The Torch Relay comes to Toronto next week and I can’t wait. I’ll be going to 2 of the Torch Celebrations here and hope I get pictures as great as yours. What great memories this is for all of us.
    PS: Isn’t Simons great? Love it!

  8. Bob permalink
    December 11, 2009 8:46 pm

    It was neat to see from one of your photos that the large truck featured on one of the Coca Cola 2010 pins actually exists!

  9. December 12, 2009 6:34 am

    Andrea, it is so great following you on your journey to the Olympics :o) Your days in Montreal seemed like they were all that you could have wished for and more!!

    It’s so amazing that your blog was picked up by the Vancouver Sun!!! Additional validation, to add to all of the wonderful comments you have been receiving from your readers :o)

    Keep up the fantastic work!!!

  10. Jo-Anne permalink
    December 12, 2009 9:33 am

    Hi Andrea,
    Just to let you know I was way too excited when I saw you on TV and said you were bawling (Wade & I laughed about that one) when I talked to your Mom. I did mean crying but what the heck, it was beautiful to see. You are one lucky person and very special at that. Hope you’ve recovered from all the excitement (& warmed up -looked pretty with the snow though).

  11. Sarah permalink
    October 2, 2010 6:55 pm

    BWahahahaha, that picture of you by yourself, waiting for the flame is HILARIOUS. You look so bouncy and excited I couldn’t help but laugh. The sheer glee, so adorable.

    And then WOW, that blog entry is fantastic! And so true. This is why I love reading it, your positivity, it’s infectious. And your devotion to the olympics, well you should have been given a gold medal for enthusiasm.

    *two thumbs up*


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