Free the flame, Olympic fans say

Olympic fans take pictures of the cauldron Tuesday morning



VANCOUVER – The location of the Olympic cauldron on the Vancouver waterfront is ideal – if you’re allowed into the main media centre.

If you’re an Olympic tourist, not so much. Crowds circled a construction site next to the cauldron Tuesday, as they have every day of the 2010 Games, trying to get a souvenir picture through the chain-link fence that kept them from the broad empty plaza.

Tracey Groot and her son Randall came down from Smithers to see Team Canada play in the Olympic hockey tournament. After a visit to the flaming glass-and-aluminum sculpture at the foot of Thurlow Street, they retreated back up the hill to get a picture at a distance.

“There’s lots of people around so it’s tough to get a good picture, and there’s a big chain-link fence, so even if you get a good picture it’s tough,” Randall said. “It’s still cool to be down there.”

Tracey was disappointed: “I just thought we would go right up and actually touch it.”

Other Olympic visitors say it’s kids who insist on seeing the real thing after watching hockey legend Wayne Gretzky light it at the opening ceremonies. A daycare group came down Tuesday morning, but youngsters couldn’t see much.

“We can see it better from our playground,” the caregiver assured her young charges as she pushed a stroller away.

Premier Gordon Campbell said Tuesday he has discussed the issue with Olympic organizers and they are working around the clock to find a solution.

“It’s been incredibly popular, and that’s a great thing,” Campbell said in an interview. “Now we want to solve the problem and I think VANOC will do that.”

Asked if a viewing platform could be put in place, Campbell said that is one possibility.

“People would like to have a clear shot of the cauldron without the fence in between, I certainly get that,” he said. “It’s just the magic of the games that connected to that cauldron.”

He noted the irony that Vancouver’s Olympic flame is closer to the people than most previous games, where the cauldron has typically been high in the air.

For tourists pressed against the fence, it is so near but so far.

Just Posted

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Remembering Lejac residential school

Lejac residential school survivor walks in honour of survivors and in memory of those who did not

Wildfire season still not over in the Burns Lake area

Ground layers remain dry, evacuation alerts remain in effect

Burns Lake businesses impacted by wildfire season

Some businesses are trying to recover the financial loss

Food bank helping out in the aftermath of Burns Lake wildfires

Weekly deliveries to Southbank and Grassy Plains

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Most Read