Canada, the most recent destination of the Queen’s Baton Relay on its tour of the Commonwealth, is one of the most successful nations in the competitions' history. The North American nation has featured at every incarnation of the Games, a feat rivalled by only five other nations – Australia, England, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand. Canada has an incredible tally of medals with 1,389 Commonwealth medals, of which 435 are Gold!
Canada is the birthplace of the Commonwealth Games, or as they were called in their first edition in 1930, the British Empire Games. The 1930 Games were held in the city of Hamilton, and attracted athletes from far and wide to compete. It took the Scottish team 24 days of travelling to get to Hamilton, though they were amply rewarded by five Bronze, three Silver and two Gold medals – in men’s 67kg Boxing by J. Rolland and in the men’s Marathon by Duncan McLeod Wright.
The baton's visit to Canada has commemorated the 1930 Games and the historical ties which bind Canada to the second largest, multi-nation multi-sporting event in the world.
Athletes of past, present and future turned out as part of the celebrations at a ceremony in Hamilton. Eight athletes took to the stage along with the Queen’s Baton, representing the various decades in which they competed. The ‘Athletes of the Decades’ ceremony included 98 year old Vi Smith who competed in the half-mile at the London 1934 British Empire Games.
Beside Vi Smith sat 4x110 yard relay athlete Don McFarlane, who won Gold at Vancouver 1954. Representing Canada’s recent successes was Alexandra Orlando, a six-time Gold medallist in Rhythmic Gymnastics at Melbourne 2006. The ceremony also looked ahead to competitors for this year’s Games including Maegan Chant, who will compete in Scotland this summer for the country’s Gymnastics team.
The uniting nature of the Commonwealth Games, also known as the ‘friendly games’, was evident in Toronto when members of the LGBT community partook in a relay along Yonge Street, highlighting the Commonwealth value of inclusiveness. The relay culminated in a ceremony at Pride House at which Michelle DuBarry, a local and well-known drag queen, received the baton dressed in royal blue.
No journey around Canada would be complete without a visit to the Niagara Falls and a chance to view this majesty in its misty splendour. It must surely be hoped by the nation of Canada, for a cascade of medals at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay continues through Europe.
See more highlights of the Queen’s Baton or check out the latest images from the baton’s journey through the Commonwealth.
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Day 207 - Canada
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