UPDATE: The Vancouver Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza will be lit at 8 p.m. tonight (February 12, 2014).
The Cauldron will be lit each evening at 6 p.m. when Canada wins gold and is paid for by two donors, according to CKNW.
Five days into the Sochi Games and on the four year anniversary of the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza is sitting unlit.
There is much to celebrate in terms of the positive legacy of Vancouver 2010 and the achievements made by the our Canadian athletes. However, the Olympic Cauldron remains dark – nobody on the West Coast seems to have thought of lighting the most visual reminder that the Games happened here.
According to The Province, some tourists were puzzled and disappointed by the lack of Olympic anniversary and solidarity fanfare from the last Olympic host city.
Meanwhile at Montreal and Calgary, host cities of the 1976 Summer Games and 1988 Winter Games, their Olympic Cauldrons were lit at the start of the Sochi Olympics and will remain constantly lit until its end on February 23.
Calgary has two Olympic Cauldrons, including the Olympic Cauldron at the Olympic Park that will remain lit at all times during Sochi 2014 while a secondary Olympic Cauldron atop Calgary Tower will be lit on the days that Canadians win a gold medal.
— Tourism Calgary (@TourismCalgary) February 12, 2014
The Olympic Cauldron at Montreal’s Olympic Park will be re-lit again for the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics from March 7 to 16.
— Tourisme Montréal (@Montreal) February 7, 2014
Other past host cities around the world including Salt Lake and Torino have also rekindled their flames.
Following a public outcry on social media earlier today, CBC reports that the provincial government is responding to pressure and will re-light the Olympic Cauldron “sooner” instead of on the last day of the Sochi Olympics. However, it remains to be seen whether there were ever planned intentions to light up the Olympic Cauldron.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it will cost $200,000 to light up the Olympic Cauldron, but did not specify the earliest date and time the public could expect it to be re-lit. The provincial government is looking for corporate sponsors to help cover the costs.
It costs $6,400 to light the Vancouver Olympic Cauldron for a period of four hours, and if it were to be permanently lit during the 17-day Sochi Olympics (like Calgary and Montreal) the cost would be approximately $652,800 – money that could arguably be better used to host a New Year’s celebration.
However, there is no question that it was a huge oversight that the Cauldron was not lit for at least today’s four year anniversary.
The Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza was first lit by Wayne Gretzky on February 12, 2010 following the Opening Ceremony lighting of a replica Cauldron inside BC Place. Ever since, the Olympic Cauldron has been lit for numerous major events and on holidays such as Canada Day and Remembrance Day. Private events on the plaza and conventions inside the Vancouver Convention Centre have also paid money to have the Olympic Cauldron relit for their functinos.
It was even lit for the opening of the flagship Cactus Club Restaurant next to the Olympic Cauldron, at the expense of the restaurant chain and public criticism over the outlandish stunt that many believed was not worthy of the occasion.
The Olympic Cauldron is managed and operated by the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Image: Clayton Perry