Seven best moments of the Parapan opening ceremony
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Aug 07, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Seven best moments of the Parapan opening ceremony

Toronto welcomed more than 1,600 para-athletes from 28 countries at a Parapan Am Games opener marked by energy and inspiration

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Big sky stadium

It got a bit chilly by the end of the two-hour Friday night ceremony, but the show’s producers took advantage of the open-air stadium at York University to add some flair not possible during the Pan Am ceremonies. A massive C-130 transport plane flew over the stadium to start things off. Later, dancers unleashed a cloud of white dove balloons into the sunset-filled sky, making for a magical moment.

Jigging audience

In the opening musical number paying homage to the host First Nation and the Metis Nation, The Metis Fiddler Quartet had the audience up and out of their seats, jigging along to their performance of “The Red River Jig.”

High-fives for athletes

The crowd getting in on the party was the theme of the night, as audience members left their seats to line the railings along the parade of nations route to hand out high-fives and cheers to passing athletes.

Canada’s walk-out song

The night’s composer/DJ, Orin Isaacs, pumped high-energy jams for the entire parade of nations, but the fun was turned up to 11 when the Canadians stepped out. A custom chant-along jam that repurposed an old summer camp favourite had the entire stadium cheering and yelling, “We are Canadian!”

Celebration of Unity extended cut

Fans of ceremonies might have recognized the Celebration of Unity dance segment from the Pan Am closing ceremonies, but dancers representing the cultures of the GTA had a bit more space to show off their moves this time, from Chinese dragon dances to Afro-Caribbean sambas.

Heart-touching torch relay

For the final leg of the Parapan Am torch relay, Canadian veterans Sgt. Steve Daniel and Dominic Larocque carried the flame into the stadium. It was then passed on to CBC’s Rick Mercer and to Rick Hansen, paralympian and philanthropist. As Hansen passed the flame to Chantal Petitclerc, Canada’s most decorated Paralympian, her emotion was visible as she beamed and touched her heart, accepted the flame, and made her way to light the cauldron.

Cauldron dance party

While the night’s headliner, Francesco Yates, played his set, athletes gathered round the lit cauldron to celebrate in the glow of the Parapan Am flame as Yates belted out his summer hit “Call.”

Toronto Star

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