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This article was published 26/7/2017 (1221 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For Mona Buors, carrying the 2017 Canada Summer Games torch during its final legs through the city on Wednesday, was "a big honour for me to be here representing all our Métis people and every Canadian."
Buors — proudly wearing her Métis sash, also known as a ceinture fléchée — carried the torch for leg 29 at The Forks to recognize her heritage and the co-hosting of the Games by the Manitoba Metis Federation, Treaty No. 1 and Treaty No. 3, whose traditional lands and waters the Games will be held upon.
"I love it. It (the torch run) is one of the highlighted moments of the Canada Summer Games and it’s the start of the Games," said Buors, a Manitoba Métis Federation board member who was cheered on by numerous supporters wearing Métis sashes and waving the blue-and-white Métis flag.
The torch wound its way through Winnipeg on Wednesday, its the final stop ahead of the Games’ start on Friday.
The relay, which began June 23 in Steinbach, saw the torch travel over 3,500 kilometres through 10 communities around the province, as well as Kenora, Ont.
On Friday, the torch will make a final trip to the Bell MTS Place to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony for the multisport games.
"Dancing Gabe" Langlois, Winnipeg’s local super fan known for his dance moves at sporting events to pump up the crowd, carried the torch in the inaugural leg of the city’s torch relay when it began at Memorial Park at 9:30 a.m.
There were 67 legs in Winnipeg, during which local citizens carried the the Roly McLenahan torch, named for the late member of the original Canada Games Council.
"They told us to walk, don’t run, or it will be over too fast," said Jonathan Niemczak, a torchbearer at leg 26 at The Forks. The president of Pride Winnipeg, Niemczak was nominated to be a torchbearer by a former colleague from the Pride Winnipeg board.
The torch’s route, which wound its way through St. Boniface, The Forks and downtown, saw the streets and paths lined with spectators and supporters.
Winnipeg police officers on motorcycles and bicycles led the way for each torchbearer, while volunteers in red shirts guided the procession.
"It’s such a great honour to be part of the Canada Summer Games and to carry the torch. Unless the Olympics come here, it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Niemczak said. He joked that carrying the torch was "excitement punctuated with fear of dropping the torch."
"I love whenever we have an opportunity to showcase our city. Winnipeg is this hidden jewel that a lot of folks don’t know about, so anytime we can have any type of national or international event, it’s just awesome," Niemczak said. "I’m really excited for all the guests that will be joining us, and all the youth, for just an amazing time here. I hope they all have fond memories of Winnipeg and I hope they come back."
Other torchbearers included Team Manitoba volleyball player Taylor Boughton, Jeanne Morrison, 96, and Alda Tait, 89, Canada’s oldest ringette player.
Former Canada Games volleyball athlete Chris Voth and his parents Val and Lloyd, a former coach at the Games, were the torchbearers at leg 35 as the torch was on its way to city hall.
Mayor Brian Bowman carried the torch for a leg, as did Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the MP for Winnipeg Centre.
"Winnipeg is thrilled and honoured to welcome the torch and open our city to the torchbearers, athletes, coaches and visitors from all over the country," Bowman stated. "This is an opportunity for us to show Winnipeg off, what our great city has to offer."
Premier Brian Pallister carried the torch near the noon hour at the legislative building.
"I carry a torch all the time for Manitoba," said Pallister, moments before he received the torch from 12-year-old Emily Doyle.
"It’s wonderful. It (the torch relay) is a team effort, and that’s the torch itself, because it’s been all around the province, people of all ages and ethnicities involved, and I like that."
Pallister called Manitoba "a team province" that is the perfect place to host these Games.
"Next to the Pan Am Games in 1999, this is the biggest thing we’ve hosted, so it’s tremendously exciting," said Pallister, who handed the torch off to the provincial sport minister Rochelle Squires.
Buors said she will be further honoured during the female softball event when she will be called upon to hand out a medal in the medal ceremony and to watch her great-niece, Amber Schneider, compete as one of Team Manitoba’s pitchers.
A community celebration at Manitoba Hydro Place followed the torch relay featuring free hotdogs to the first 1,000 visitors.
Using the motto "The hottest summer in half a century" to honour the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games, the 2017 Canada Summer Games will include 16 sports, over 250 events and a cultural festival from July 28 to Aug. 13. The event will feature over 4,000 athletes and coaches along with 6,000 volunteers. More than 20,000 visitors to the city are expected.