Shawanda to headline local Pan Am Games Torch Relay celebration

June 3, 2015   ·   0 Comments

he community is invited to celebrate the Pan Am flame when it visits the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre in Orangeville on Friday of next week, June 12, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Presented by President’s Choice and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG), the celebration will include live entertainment along with the arrival of the Pan Am flame and lighting of the cauldron. Community Torchbearer and former Olympian Brian Price will carry the torch into the site and on to the stage at 7 p.m.

Enjoy the on-stage entertainment provided by the Town with funding support from Heritage Canada, the Ontario government and Dufferin County and the Pan Am Games Torch Relay. The official segment, on an outdoor stage at the Tony Rose, will feature JUNO Award winning Canadian songstress country-blues artist Crystal Shawanda.

Born on the Wikwemikong Native Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Crystal Shawanda grew up immersed in the music of her heritage, but it was at the age of 12 on a trip to Nashville that she discovered and embraced the spirit of the south. Coming up as a country artist, she released a handful of albums and took on a full-time gig at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on the Broadway strip. Since then she has stormed the country music charts with multiple hit singles, performed at the 2013 U.S. Presidential inauguration and been awarded multiple honours including the title of CCMA “Female Artist of the Year” and the 2013 JUNO Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year. Crystal has spent time touring North America with such acts as Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. Last fall, she toured Canada with the release of her latest album (her first modern blues album) “The Whole World’s Got The Blues”.

Orangeville’s celebration site opens at 5 p.m., with the first live performance set for 5:15 p.m. The entertainment line-up kicks off with the Campfire Poets. Hailing from Dufferin County, The Poets continue to have huge success. Headed up by Geoff Canlett and Ryan Hancock, this band always knows how to bring the fun, and has been doing so for over a decade. Spanning six decades and many genres of music, this band will keep you singing and dancing the entire time they are playing.

Next up on stage will be the Sacred Spirit Dancers.  With representation from First Nations, Metis and Inuit, this group of performers promotes cultural awareness through music and dance.

Leisa Way will bring patriotism to the forefront with Nathan Smith, Bobby Prochaska, Fred Smith, Bruce Ley, Sam Cino, and The Wayward Wind Band as they present part of their high-energy “Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee” show.

A resident of Orangeville, Leisa started singing at events when she was nine years old, and at age 12 sang for Queen Elizabeth. Leisa took her first professional role in 1981, when she played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and she has performed in more than 100 professional productions since then, both plays and musicals.

In Canada, she is perhaps best known for her starring role as Anne in Anne of Green Gables, a role she played for six years at the Charlottetown Festival, including tours to Japan and the U.S. Her 25-year career in theatre has taken her to countries and theatres all over the world, starring in many lead roles such as “Peter Pan” in Peter Pan (both in Canada and the United States), Polly in Crazy For You and Peggy in 42nd Street.

Leisa has performed her one-woman cabaret shows on various cruise lines, and in 2007 she began producing her own concerts. These concerts have now played at more than 60 theatres across Canada. Most recently, Leisa debuted the world premiere of “Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee!” – a celebration of the country’s greatest singers and songwriters.

Experience the Pan Am Games Torch Relay excitement at the celebration site on June 12. Events include a free barbecue, thanks to the Orangeville Lions Club and Zehrs Orangeville; a Community Zone with interactive sports activities; a Torch Relay highlights video; and activities provided by the Pan Am Games Torch Relay partners – virtual simulations, free samples of Loblaws/PC seasonal products, and Torch selfies.

Orangeville’s new radio station, myFM 101.5 will have a presence at the site, with Laura Earl from the morning show broadcasting live from 4-8 p.m. Laura has enjoyed a 17-year career both in front of the microphone and on camera. She is a morning show host with myFM.  She has toured around the world as one-half of the sketch comedy duo 2ToGo! making their Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut in 2007. In 2003, Laura premiered her first one-woman show “10 Times a Bridesmaid…Now What?” which was declared a “Hit of the Fringe” at the Atlantic Fringe Festival.  Laura debuted her first National Comedy Special for CBC Radio One performing her second one-woman show “I’m an Army Wife…Now What?” based on her real life experiences as a military spouse.

In keeping with the spirit of the Pan Am Games, celebrate Orangeville’s sports heritage June 6-13. Heritage Orangeville’s sports display entitled “Play, Endure, Inspire” will be featured in the atrium of the Town Hall at 87 Broadway and in the Mill Street Library (during open hours). The Dufferin County Museum & Archives will also be presenting a special exhibit on June 12 (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and on June 13 (from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Downtown businesses are also getting into the spirit of the Pan Am Games and the Torch Relay with storefront window displays depicting Orangeville’s strong sports culture throughout its history.

The Torch Relay will be leaving Orangeville on the morning of June 13, with an opportunity for photographs of a torch and torchbearer at the Orangeville Farmers’ Market at 10 a.m. A brief ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. with the torch relay leaving the market at 10:40 a.m., headed east on Broadway.

The torch relay began its 41-day journey when the Pan Am flame was lit May 25 during a traditional Aztec lighting ceremony at the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico.

More than 3,000 torchbearers will carry the Pan Am flame through communities across Ontario as well as Richmond, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal and Halifax.  The torch will see more than 60 modes of transportation while touring through Canada exceeding 5,000 km on the road and 15,000 km by air. The torch relay will finish in Toronto on July 10, 2015 to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony, which signifies the start of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.

Information on the Orangeville celebration is available on the Town’s website. You can visit to follow the torch relay as it gets closer to kicking off the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

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