After 17 Memorable Days, Canadians Enjoy Two More

Nearly $2 Million Generated for Canadian Athletes at Hall of Fame

Canada’s first Olympic city was once again transfixed by Olympic excitement when Montreal played host to the 2010 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame last weekend. And this country’s 2010 Olympians and Paralympians made it something that will not be soon forgotten and most certainly something to try and repeat.

First, on April 22, 135 Olympians and Paralympians visited Parliament Hill in nearby Ottawa, together with about 20 coaches. The House of Commons was flooded with Olympic celebration when this throng of 2010 athletes converged on the floor to a loud and long round of applause. Few times has the House been this packed with bodies, as athletes shook hands with Ministers of Parliament and an impromptu rendition of O Canada broke out in the chamber.

On a sunny Friday, April 23, tens of thousands of people revved up with Olympic spirit lined Montreal’s Ste-Catherine Street and filled Phillips Square for a first-ever parade of Olympians and Paralympians. In all, more than 160 of Canada’s 2010 athletes perched on a sea of floats paraded in downtown Montreal. The festivities illustrated the patriotism and Olympism that flows throughout Canada, and how much people across the country admire their 2010 athletes – who in actuality seemed the happiest of all, soaking in a spirited atmosphere.

The parade was very unique: it is believed to be the first time ever that this large a group of Canadian Olympians have participated in the same parade in a major Canadian city celebrating a recent Games.

Friday night, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony unfolded in its most impressive and colourful incarnation ever. Guests filled the floor of the Bell Centre and performers including Sara McLachlan, Tom Cochrane and Simple Plan made it a night to remember. As current Olympians and honoured guests – including Prime Minister Stephen Harper – looked on, the Olympic Hall of Fame welcomed sprinter Bruny Surin, kayaker Caroline Brunet, speed skater Susan Auch, athletics coach Paul Poce and important Olympic builders Walter Sieber, Peter Lougheed and Carol Anne Letheren. The Canadian Olympic Order was bestowed on VANOC head John Furlong, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and 2010 visionary Jack Poole.

An amazing $1.8 million was raised in this event for Canadian athletes through the Canadian Olympic Foundation. A check was presented at the conclusion of the ceremonies Friday night – which was captured on national television. In all, the Celebration of Excellence was truly historic and a resounding success.

Click on “photos” above for some images of the events Thursday and Friday.