Victoria got a brush with royalty as the city hosted the 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay.
The Queen’s Baton Relay, often likened to the Olympic Torch relay, takes place prior to the start of the Commonwealth Games.
The Queen’s Baton will make a 388-day journey, covering 230,000 kilometres through 70 Commonwealth nations and territories before arriving in Gold Coast, Australia, the host city of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The baton arrived in Canada on July 27 and will visit the four Canadian cities that hosted the Commonwealth Games in the past (Hamilton 1930, Vancouver 1954, Edmonton 1978, and Victoria 1994). The Canadian leg of the Baton Relay will end Tuesday in Vancouver.
Participants in the Victoria leg of the relay included Mayor Lisa Helps, marathon runner Bruce Deacon, para-runner and para-soccer player Liam Stanley, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism and international field hockey player Ravi Kahlon, and Commonwealth Games swimmer and triathlete Suzanne Weckend.
WATCH: Victoria cleared for Commonwealth Games bid
All five relay participants arrived in front of Government House to present the baton to B.C. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon.
The baton’s presence in Victoria has fueled conversations about the city’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after Durban, South Africa was stripped off its rights to host the Games due to financial difficulties.
The city’s bid to host the Games was officially announced last month by David Black, businessman and owner of Canada’s largest private publisher, Black Press, and Weckend, who represented Canada at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.
Victoria is the only Canadian city to bid on the 2022 Games. Toronto withdrew from the race after the city’s Economic Development Committee warned about a lack of support from Federal and Provincial authorities.
Hosting the Games would cost an estimated $500 million, not including capital costs. But, Commonwealth Games Canada estimates the economic benefit to B.C. would be double that amount.
As Canada’s only contender in the race to host the 2022 Games, Victoria will compete against cities in Australia, Malaysia, and England.
The Games are an international multi-sport event that involves athletes from the Commonwealth nations. The first event was held in 1930, with the exception of 1943 and 1946 which were cancelled because of the Second World War, has taken place every four years. The last Games were held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014.