Vancouver Unveils Longest Olympic Torch Relay in History for 2010 Games

Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver unveiled plans Monday to create the longest torch relay across one nation in the history of the Olympics.

Organizers said they wanted to make the announcement on Canada's East Coast to show that the Games, particularly the torch relay, is an event all Canadians can enjoy, regardless of where they live.

The torch will cover more than 21,748 miles, winding through every province and territory, for about 100 days leading up to the Games. Some 12,000 people will eventually be selected to carry the torch.

Organizers of the Beijing Summer Games are planning the longest torch relay in Olympic history — but that's through five continents, an 85,000-mile, 130-day route.

Specific details of the Canadian relay — including the cross-country route it will take and how torch bearers will be selected — won't be revealed until the fall.

"We want to put the torch into as many hands as we possibly can," Jim Richards, relay director, told a crowd of Olympic officials, athletes and sponsors at historic Pier 21 in Halifax.

Canadian athletes and a trio of fuzzy mascots gathered in Halifax to boost the profile of the 2010 Winter Games.

Some don't know where the 2010 Olympics are being held.

The level of awareness was less than 60 percent in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, and less than 70 percent in Ontario, said VANOC spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade.