Olympic Torch Relay 2009

As the torch relay team enjoys a well-deserved break yesterday and today, Globe editorial cartoonist Brian Gable recalls an earlier stop on the journey.

BRIAN GABLE NEWMARKET, ONT. — From Saturday’s Globe and Mail Published on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009 12:00AM EST

It’s 9:30 a.m. on a clear minus-six-degree morning at the Magna Centre on Day 50 of the relay, and crowds are pouring onto the outdoor parking lot in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the Olympic torch.

Because it’s Friday, a working day, the majority of this morning’s several thousand attendees are local students, along with a few retirees. On an outdoor stage, the Newmarket Citizens’ Band ( “the oldest established community concert band in Canada”) strikes up The Maple Leaf Forever and the party begins. For the next 90 minutes on the stage, DJs rap, acrobats leap and patriotic fervour builds.

“Let’s go Canada!” cheers are led and for a brief time the Magna Centre parking lot takes on the feeling of a massive, energetic pep rally. Olympic mascots move through the excited, flag-waving crowd, a continuous bass beat emanates from the stage and then at 11 a.m. the crowd grows even louder as the torch and bearer are sighted coming down Mulock Drive amidst blinking police cars and a convoy of attending vehicles.

A smiling Clare Kowaltschuk bears the flame through the cheering crowd and takes the stage. Speeches are delivered and heartily cheered. The ceremony ends with a final flurry of flag-waving and enthusiasm and for Newmarket, Ont., the ceremony ends.

The torch must move on.