April 28, 2014, OTTAWA – Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston were the first in Canada to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay.
The Queen’s Baton Relay began its Canadian visit by making its way from Sussex Gate to Rideau Hall’s main entrance, carried by Commonwealth medallists Abby Hoffman and Bruce Robertson, as well as 2007 Commonwealth wrestling champion Alex Brown-Thériault. Canada’s Chef de Mission at Glasgow 2014, Chantal Petitclerc was the last one to hold the Baton in the relay, handing it off to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.
The Queen’s Baton began its 190,000-kilometre journey to 70 nations and territories on October 9th, 2013 when Her Majesty first handed off the ceremonial baton to Scottish sprint legend Allan Wells. It has since continued its historic journey around the Commonwealth, calling the 4,500 athletes to Glasgow for the Games. Following its 288-day trek, the baton will return to The Queen at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on July 23, 2014, where Her Majesty will remove Her message and read it aloud, officially declaring the Games open.
“I was thrilled to accept the baton from Chantal Petitclerc,” said the Governor General. “Her presence here, and that of all the other athletes, speaks to just how important this relay is. It also means that the Commonwealth Games—which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, this summer—are quickly approaching. Sharon and I are both excited to start watching the competition, cheering on our Canadian athletes, revelling in every win.”
Hundreds of school children were on hand to line the Baton’s route, and each school present was given the opportunity to have a photo with the Baton and participating Commonwealth Games athletes. A highlight for the youngsters was the presence of CGC’s mascot, Canoose the Goose.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am very pleased to welcome the Queen’s Baton to Canada”, said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “In less than one hundred days, our athletes will be competing in the Commonwealth Games, which have always been such an important part of our sport heritage. I would like to extend best wishes to the athletes, coaches and mission team who will proudly represent our country this summer in Glasgow, Scotland.”
Chantal Petitclerc, one of Canada’s most decorated athletes and wheelchair racer extraordinaire, welcomed the opportunity to have the Baton visit Canada. “We have been preparing for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games for over a year now, and having the Queen’s Baton on Canadian soil really brings the Games to life. With only 86 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, I can really feel the energy and excitement starting to build around the Games and Canada’s 2014 Team.”
The Baton remains in Ottawa for two days, including a visit this afternoon on Parliament Hill, then will continue its journey to Toronto, where the Canadian Team’s official 2014 uniform will be unveiled, and will finish its Canadian visit in Hamilton, birthplace of the Commonwealth Games (British Empire Games in 1930).