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Canada marks one-year countdown for 2010 Olympics
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16:49, February 12, 2009

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Cities across Canada are holding events Thursday to mark the one-year countdown of the 2010 Winter Games.

The head of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge arrived in Whistler, British Columbia Wednesday to help mark the event.

"I am very pleased with the progress," he said during an evening news conference. "I think everything bodes well for the Games."

From a shoreline symphony on the Atlantic to a carillon carol in Ottawa, there will be no shortage of countdown events Thursday.

Olympic officials will unveil the design of the Olympic torch in Whistler in the morning at one of two major ceremonies to mark the one-year countdown in the host province.

Between now and start of the Games on Feb. 12, 2010, the torch will travel 45,000 kilometers across Canada through dozens of different climates and conditions in every province and territory.

The uniforms torchbearers will wear as they carry the flame will also be unveiled in Whistler on Thursday.

Later, the festivities move to Vancouver and the organizing committee has put out a call for Canadians everywhere to "make some noise" at 6 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) in honor of the one-year milestone.

In Newfoundland, musicians will play a symphony from the boats in St. John's Harbor, while in Manitoba, a week's worth of community sporting events are already underway.

In Calgary, the last Canadian city to host an Olympic Game, they're dusting off the torch from the 1988 Winter Olympics to light their own Olympic cauldron.

A rare honor is being given to the Games in Ottawa, where the Peace Tower bells will ring as the Olympic flag is hoisted over Parliament Hill.

In Vancouver, government and Olympic officials will gather for a celebration at the speed skating oval in Richmond, where Rogge will issue his official invitation to the world's athletes to come and compete in 2010.

An estimated 350,000 spectators, 5,500 athletes and officials and 10,000 journalists will arrive for the Olympics next year.

The countdown to the Games comes amid a world economic recession, and provincial politicians have pinned British Columbia's economic salvation on the 2010 Olympic Game.

The Olympic committee has promised a billion dollars in spending this year alone, not counting additional spending by spectators, the media and athletes during the Games.

The province believes the 2010 Olympics will generate 10.7 billion Canadian dollars (8.5 billion U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua

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