Three-time Paralympic swimming gold medallist Chelsey Gotell of Canada has been announced as the first Torchbearer for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games Torch Relay, which is set to include two separate Flames that will unite ahead of the Opening Ceremony on August 7.

The “East Flame” will be lit in Ottawa while the “West Flame” will be lit in Niagara Falls on August 3 at special ceremonies, and the two will then travel simultaneously towards Toronto before they complete the last part of the journey as one Parapan Am flame.

Toronto 2015 are now inviting applicants from any Canadian resident or citizen over the age of 13 and Gotell, who claimed gold in the women’s S13 100 metres backstroke and 200m individual medley at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008, has encouraged people to get involved.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be a Torchbearer and feel the sense of pride as you carry the flame towards the Opening Ceremony,” she said.

“The entire nation rallies behind you and there is a feeling of community, a chance to celebrate and share together.

“This will be a memorable experience for each and every one of the Torchbearers, who are coming together to create history as the largest Parapan Am Games Torch Relay ever held.”

Applications for the public process are due to close on April 19, and the remaining Torchbearers will then be decided by Games stakeholders and Torch Relay route communities.

The Parapan American Games Torch Relay, which is set to be the largest in the event’s history, will visit 12 communities, including Kingston, Whitby, Burlington, Hamilton, Mississauga, Ajax, Belleville, St. Catharines and Toronto.

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The unique Parapan American Games Torch Relay will visit 12 communities across the region and will feature 250 Torchbearers ©Toronto 2015

There are set to be 250 Torchbearers for the Torch Relay and the route will span 700 kilometres across the region.

“The Parapan Am Games Torch Relay is a unique opportunity for Canadians to be a part of something that has never been done before,” Toronto 2015 chief executive Saäd Rafi said.

“This is an invitation to participate in the largest Parapan Am Games Torch Relay ever held, leading into the largest-ever Parapan Am Games.

“Anyone aged 13 and up by August 3, 2015, can enter to be a torchbearer.

“All they need is a sense of pride, an abundance of community spirit and an ability to inspire us with their joy.”

The official street-level Torch Relay route will be announced in July, and in the same month exact timings for the various communities will also be released.

Anyone who wishes to be a Torchbearer for the Parapan American Games Torch Relay can register their interest here.