Calgary and Montreal relight Olympic cauldrons, but Vancouver’s stays dark

While Russia revels in the Olympic spotlight, it is important to remember that Canada has its own Olympic legacy to be proud of. From the Montreal Olympics in 1976 to Calgary in 1988 and Vancouver in 2010. We have a lot to celebrate, and two of those cities are doing just that by lighting their Olympic cauldrons over the course of the Sochi Games.

Calgary and Montreal have both lit their Olympic cauldrons and say they will burn over the course of the Olympics. But Vancouver has left its own torch cold.

Several Vancouver residents and tourists to the city told The Province they were disappointed the city's Olympic cauldron was left unlit during the Sochi Games.

"This would be impressive if it was lit up," Rosie Primeau said. "They should have the flame lit to commemorate the Olympics."

Instead, the four-pronged cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza was left barren. The cauldron, operated by the Vancouver Convention Centre, remains unlit would cost about $6,400 to light, according to a spokesman.

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Montreal announced last week that its 1976 Olympic cauldron, located on the Esplanade Financière Sun Life, would burn until February 23, when the Olympics came to a close, and relit from March 7 to 16 for the Paralympic Games.

And in Calgary, the 1988 Olympic cauldron has been lit for almost a week.

According to WinSport, a non-profit legacy group for the Calgary Olympics, the cauldron was lit on Feb. 6 by Robyn Ainsworth, who originally lit the cauldron in 1988, and Alexandra Pretorius, a Canadian ski jumper who could not compete in Sochi due to an injury.

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According to the group's weekly, newsletter, the group is hosting 17 days worth of Olympic events - from screening parties to signing walls (where supporters can write messages to Olympic athletes) to Russian-themed parties.

In Vancouver, the city is holding its own celebrations, from an opening parade and sport simulators to meet-and-greets with former Olympic medalists and lives entertainment.

So why no cauldron lighting in Vancouver? Perhaps it is too save money, or maybe no one considered it until now. Or just maybe it was a measure intended to distance the city from the flubbed lighting event of 2010.

The Yahoo Sports Olympic blog listed Vancouver's torch lighting among the worst of the modern era, thanks to the bizarre decision to put Wayne Gretzky in the back of a pickup truck and, more notably, a mechanical failure that stopped one of four pillars designed to rise up from... rising up.

We'd hate to see that happen again. So soon, anyway.

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