The 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games spread waves of excitement and Canadian pride across the country. Since the torch made its way through the Pembina Valley ten years ago, Southern Manitoba has made its place on the map hosting major sporting events and showing off small-town pride like no other.

The Torch Relay began in October of 2009 in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. A special mirror is used to reflect the sun's rays and ignite the flame that made it's way across the sea into Canada.  

Zacharias arrives at work after carrying the torch through Carman.

By day 70, the torch was finally here and I remember that day clearly. I was part of the Winkler Elementary School Jazz Choir which got to sing at the ceremonies at the Winkler Arena, but even louder were the cheers that rocked the building as the torch made its way inside.

What was even more exciting was knowing that just a little earlier in the day, my Auntie got to carry the very same flame in Carman.

Colleen Zacharias was picked to carry the torch after taking part in an online contest about recycling.

"The experience was a once in a lifetime experience! It made me feel more part of the Olympics that year, even if my part was very little. I will always remember that I got to run by my place of work with all the students standing in front of the school singing a song just for me. Later that day I went to all of the classrooms in the school with the torch for them to see and touch my mitts that had grips on them."

Back in Winkler, Karen Doell got to carry the flame on stage in the arena and light the ceremonial cauldron.

Although the Olympics actually took place on the west coast, Winkler has since been host to even more sporting honours in the past ten years as the impact of the flame burns on in our communities. Some events include the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Viterra Curling Championship, Esso Cup, National Women's U18 Hockey Championship, Hometown Hockey, and the Power Smart Manitoba Winter Games.