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Thousands cheer as Olympic flame visits Langley

Jim McGregor, retired Langley City fire chief and Times columnist, was one of the Olympic torch bearers along 200 Street on Monday, as the flame for the 2010 Games made its way through most parts of the community. Thousands of people were on hand in various places to watch it go by, as opening day for the 2010 Winter Olympics rapidly approaches. - John Gordon/Langley Times
Jim McGregor, retired Langley City fire chief and Times columnist, was one of the Olympic torch bearers along 200 Street on Monday, as the flame for the 2010 Games made its way through most parts of the community. Thousands of people were on hand in various places to watch it go by, as opening day for the 2010 Winter Olympics rapidly approaches.
— image credit: John Gordon/Langley Times

An enormous number of people, perhaps as much as half of Langley's population, watched as the Olympic torch for the 2010 Winter Olympics made its way through various parts of the community on Monday.

The flame crossed the Golden Ears Bridge Monday morning, and then was carried along the streets of Walnut Grove and Fort Langley. The streets were packed with people at both locations, despite some rain.

Following an official ceremony at Fort Langley National Historic Site, the torch was off to Aldergrove, where a very enthusiastic crowd greeted it. It then went to Willoughby, where a crowd of close to 10,000 was on hand in the Langley Events Centre parking lot for some special ceremonies.

Carrying the torch the last leg to the giant stage on the grounds of the events centre was Paralympic gold medallist Lauren Barwick.

Premier Gordon Campbell was on stage along with local politicians and his obvious enthusiasm for the Games matched the mood of the crowd. Many school children and parents with young children were on hand to take in the once-in-a-lifetime event.

After the flame left the Events Centre, it proceeded down 200 Street and to the Save-On-Foods Willoughby store, where a $50,000 cheque was presented to the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

The sun was breaking out and many people were in shirtsleeves as they watched the torch pass by.

The flame then headed into Langley City to be met by a massive crowd around City hall. It was delayed for a short time on 200 Street as a container train went by, with part of the advance party on one side of the tracks and the rest of the support vehicles and torch bearer stranded on the other side. This gave the crowd gathered at Preston GM more time to see the flame.

At City hall, flags from many countries were on the stage, symbolizing both the international flavour of Langley and the worldwide nature of the Olympics.

After a ceremony at City hall, the torch was carried west on 56 Avenue as it headed into Surrey.

While it was impossible to estimate how many people saw the flame in Langley, it was certainly in the tens of thousands.

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