Mission gets in the spirit of the Games

Mayor James Atebe sees the Olympic flame passed between torch bearers at a ceremony in Mission.

Thousands of people joined in the singing of O’Canada as the Olympic flame was passed from one torch to another early Monday morning.

Mission’s Margaret Kreick took centre stage as her torch was lit and the previous one extinguished.

She dashed off the stage and continued the flame’s journey with a street full of supporters cheering her on.

Still standing on stage after Krieck’s departure were Premier Gordon Campbell and VANOC CEO John Furlong, who were in Mission to welcome the flame.

Campbell, full of energy and enthusiasm before sunrise, led the crowd in a chant of Go Canada Go!

Both he and Furlong spoke highly of Jack Poole and agreed the energy buzzing that morning was a great way to honour the man who was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to B.C.

Earlier this year the district declared Feb. 8 would be Jack Poole Day.

Poole was a man who brought so much to the province and his community, said Mayor James Atebe.

Although Poole was a business man in Vancouver, and Mission was his home. It was his sanctuary and he liked nothing more than to spend time here, in his home, with his family.

He was also a visionary who was instrumental in promoting the Olympics and bringing the Games to B.C.

Having the day named after him is an honour, said his wife Darlene, who was also at the early morning celebrations.

In addition to honouring Poole with a special day, Mayor James Atebe also announced Harbourside Park would be renamed Jack Poole Park.

Poole passed away last October, but what he left behind has not been forgotten.

By 5:30 a.m., the streets were already lined on First Avenue from Murray to Grand with not much room to move.

The Masih family was dressed in patriotic colours and cheering as loudly as they could.

Ten-year-old Luke, and eight-year-old Caleb jumped out of bed and couldn’t wait to come here, said their dad Clive.

This is a once in a lifetime experience and they have caught the Olympic spirit, he added,

The boys sat down and spent a lot of time making a poster to cheer on their home team, said mom Aruna, noting the brothers will have enough time to get ready for school after the celebration.

Bands from Hatzic and Mission Secondary schools provided entertainment for the crowd, along with Carly Rae Jepsen who wang a few numbers on stage as well as the national anthem.

The Olympic torch came to Mission from Abbotsford, and continued on to Maple Ridge, Langley and Surrey on day 104 of the relay.

The torch will rest after 108 days of being on the road in Vancouver on Friday, when the Vancouver winter Olympics begins.