Pelham torch runners Robert Lucchetta, Natalie Anderson, Michael Jacques, Jim Chalcraft, Frank Adamson, Rhys Evans, and Mayor Marvin Junkin, along with Pelham Councillors Wayne Olson and Bob Hildebrandt. DON RICKERS

Last Wednesday’s ceremony at Pelham Town Hall drew a collection of local community-minded supporters, athletes, and athlete-wannabees, as a flag raising for the impending Canada Summer Games in Niagara took place.

Mayor Marvin Junkin, who in a jocular fashion professed that only an age limit prohibited him from competing in the games as an athlete, was on hand to introduce his fellow torch runners.

The Town of Pelham will host the torch relay on Saturday, July 16, which coincides with Summerfest. A list of the torch bearers participating, as well as the Pelham route they will travel, is available online at  https://niagara2022games.ca/catch-the-spirit/our-torch-journey/#Pelham.

“It’s an exciting time for the Niagara region,” Junkin told the assembly. “It is hard to believe that the highly anticipated Games, after two years of pandemic rescheduling, are going to begin in just 30 days. The Canada Summer Games represent the highest level of national competition for thousands of up-and coming-amateur Canadian athletes.”

The flags of each Canadian province and territory are being featured as part of the 13 for 13 Festival celebrations. Each of Niagara’s 13 municipalities are collaborating with one of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories to showcase their unique cultural heritage, entertainment, art, and culinary experiences. Pelham has been paired with Alberta, whose flag was hoisted on a flag pole beside the Games flag during the ceremony.

Junkin suggesting that the western athletes might be bringing Pelham a truckload of Alberta oil as a show of respect, and recognized the torchbearers who will represent Pelham on the torch run in the municipality.

One of the torch runners is Rhys Evans, who works for the Town at the MCC.

“I got a phone call from the Mayor several months ago, telling me that he had nominated me to be a torch runner,” said Rhys. “When I got the offer, It was a no-brainer for me because, you know, how many people get the opportunity to do this? It is such a prestigious event that doesn’t come to Niagara very often. So if you have the opportunity to participate in any capacity, it’s an honour. It’s a real privilege to represent my town.”

So if you have the opportunity to participate in any capacity, it’s an honour

Another torch runner is veteran Rotarian Frank Adamson, who has been a driving force behind the reconstruction of the iconic Pelham Arches.

“The road race cycling event slated for August 18 will start and finish under the arches,” he pledged, noting that a $10,000 grant for the project specifies that they must be in place for the Games.

“Unfortunately, we’re going to miss Summerfest, but this arches project has a lot of moving parts,” he said. “Construction of the arches will commence the day after Summerfest concludes.”

Fonthill Rotarians currently have Canada Summer Games torch run T-shirts for sale, for those wanting to support the event, with all proceeds directed to the fund for the Pelham Arches.

The Games home base is the new Canada Games Park, south of Brock University’s main campus on Merrittville Highway. Event venues are scheduled across the region, including sailing and tennis in Niagara-on-the-Lake, golf in Niagara Falls, canoe, kayak, and triathlon competitions at the Welland International Flatwater Centre, and rowing at the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course, in St. Catharines.

The opening ceremonies, which will include a parade of participating teams, are set for August 6 at 8 PM at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, and are expected to attract a crowd of 5,000. The closing ceremonies will be two weeks later at Victoria Park in Niagara Falls.