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

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Most Read