Vancouver's Olympic cauldron finally fired up, temporarily

Vancouver's Olympic Cauldron was finally fired up last night, following widespread criticism leaving it unlit during the Sochi Games showed a lack of Olympic spirit.

A small crowd of a about 200 people gave a round of applause as the flames appeared and broke into an impromptu rendition of O Canada.

Olympic soccer star Christine Sinclair said the lighting of the cauldron brings back memories.

"Being from the Lower Mainland just makes me extremely proud, to think of what the city was able to accomplish four years ago, and you know, I was one of the fortunate ones in BC Place during the opening ceremonies, and it brings back so many special memories"

Former Vancouver Organizing Committee president John Furlong said the cauldron is being lit at exactly the right time.

"The Olympic games started on the 12th of February exactly at the time we lit this now, so I always thought this would be the night, and obviously it could have been on the first night, but I expected it tonight, because this is our anniversary"

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone, who first announced the cauldron would be lit Wednesday, said the government was planning on lighting it at the end of the Sochi Games, but given the public's reaction, decided to do it sooner.  

He estimated it could cost $200,000 to keep it lit for the duration of the games, and said they are looking for corporate sponsorship or some other way to cover the cost.

Early Thursday morning the flame was no longer burning. Officials have yet to confirm when it might be lit again.

Questions were raised about why Vancouver had not lit its Olympic Cauldron during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, after 1988 Winter Olympic host Calgary started lighting theirs.

Vancouver's four-armed glass and steel cauldron was built to reflect the 2010 Games' theme of fire on ice and was first lit  by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky during the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

It was last lit for the opening of the new 500-seat Cactus Club restaurant, which paid more than $5,000 to cover the costs associated with the lighting in March of 2013. The cauldron has also been lit for Canada Day celebrations.

The cauldron is managed by the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is run by the B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the Crown corporation also responsible for running BC Place.

"The minimum charge is $5,000 for up to four hours, calculated from the time the cauldron is lit until it is extinguished. An administrative fee of five per cent is also applied. This fee covers all cauldron-related expenses," said a spokesperson at the time it was lit for the restaurant opening.

The cauldron was built by Terasen Gas, now called FortisBC, in partnership with the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic organizing committees.

A chain link fence designed to keep visitors away generated widespread outrage during the games, prompting the Olympic organizing committee to redesign the security measures.

During the Sochi Games, Calgary is lighting their flame each night Canada wins a gold medal. The Olympic flames have also been lit in Montreal, Salt Lake City and Torino during the Sochi Games.

Port Metro Vancouver has been sounding its heritage horns, located on top of Canada Place, at 4 p.m. PT for each gold medal won.

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