For over 35 years, ATCO has been a steadfast supporter of amateur sport, athletes, and the Alberta Games: a program that showcases the talents and enthusiasm of Alberta’s youth from all over the province.
The mainstay of our involvement has always been the Torch Relay, which helps fuel the excitement of the Games by involving athletes and communities throughout the province.
Inspired by the excitement of the 1988 Petro Canada Torch Relay for the Calgary Olympics, two passionate Northwestern & Canadian Western Utility employees (Mills Parker and Roy Nourse) presented the idea of the Blue Flame Torch Relay to the Alberta Games, and from then it all began.
Our initial support meant hiring a Torch Relay Coordinator to oversee the production of running the torch from the 1986 Alberta Games host community of Grande Prairie to the Town of Vermilion. The torch traveled nearly 650km over 15 days before arriving at the Opening Ceremonies at the 1988 Alberta Summer Games.
Over the next set of Alberta Games, the torch ran between Strathcona County to Brooks, Red Deer to Camrose and Vermilion to Hinton. In 1992, the Torch Relay distances were shortened, and the relay stayed within the host community, which eliminated the long travel distances and costly operations.
What has remained consistent throughout the past 35 years has been the use of our hand-held torches and natural gas cauldrons that are uniquely crafted, maintained, and operated by our skilled employees.
The torches and cauldrons continue to be welcomed by the Alberta Games and featured at the ATCO Torch Relay and the Alberta Games Opening Ceremonies.
The relay torches, weighing nearly 4lbs, are made with chromed steel tubing with laser engraved cut-outs of the ATCO logo for the burner head. They feature a wooden handle made of Canadian Maple.
Our clean-burning cauldrons always make their presence known at the Games, standing over nine feet tall and weighing over 1,300lbs. The cauldrons, safely monitored by our operational staff, are fueled by a natural gas bottle trailer and have a flame temperature of up to 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ATCO Torch Relay will hit the road once again for the 2024 Alberta Winter Games in Grande Prairie on Saturday, February 10 and then again at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, February 16.