Northeast Town announces Ivan Wheale as community Pan Am torchbearer

Island artist Ivan Wheale stands next to his paintings at the Perivale Gallery in Spring Bay at last year’s season opening reception.

LITTLE CURRENT—The Northeast Town has officially announced Manitoulin artist Ivan Wheale as the community torchbearer for the Pan Am Games Torch Relay stop in Little Current on Tuesday, June 2.

“Ivan was selected by the Northeast Town mayor and council because he is a very gifted artist and a major contributor to our community,” states a press release from the municipality. “He is a world renowned artist who has brought significant attention to our beautiful community and Manitoulin Island as a whole. Ivan’s work hangs in numerous public and private collections including the Queen’s collection at Windsor Castle, the Government of Ontario, the Provincial Buildings in Ottawa and the Lieutenant Governor’s at Queen’s Park in Toronto.”

“Ivan Wheale will proudly carry the Pan Am flame as the Northeast Town’s community tourchbearer,” said Mayor Al MacNevin. “The Northeast Town is excited to be a part of this historic jouney and we look forward to showcasing our community to the world.”

The Northeast Town is planning a large event around the Pan Am torch relay stop including a free concert with Juno award winner Crystal Shawanda.

Town staff are still working with torch relay organizers to determine the torch’s exact arrival time, however the estimated time of arrival as of press time Monday is 5 pm on June 2.

The preliminarily agenda has family events and games starting at 4:30 pm in downtown Little Current and the community torch relay beginning at the Rendezvous Pavilion at 5 pm, then travelling east on Water Street, east on Sims Street, concluding at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre.

The town is also hoping to partner with area community groups for event activities prior to the torch relay and the one-hour Crystal Shawanda concert.

During the 41-day torch relay, each of the 3,000 torchbearers will complete, on average, a 200-metre relay segment. The torch will be carried by more than 60 modes of transportation and exceed 5,000 kilometers on the road and 15,000 kilometers by air.

“The torch is a unique symbol of the Pan Am Games and carries a powerful energy that will unite Canadians,” Saad Rafi, chief executive officer of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, said in the release. “The torchbearers will proudly carry the flame through more than 130 communities, igniting the Pan Am spirit as they go.”

The aluminum torch stands 65 centimeters high and weighs 1.2 kilograms (roughly the same weight as a baseball bat). With a burn time of 10 to 12 minutes, the flame can withstand winds of up to 70 kilometers per hour and is visible in all kinds of weather conditions.

The 41-day torch relay starts May 30 and concludes July 10 with the dramatic lighting of the cauldron at the 2015 Pan Am Games opening ceremony in downtown Toronto.