November 5 - The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will visit 11 Canadian communities in 10 days, starting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 3 and ending at the opening ceremony at BC Place in Vancouver on March 12, it has been announced.


Vancouver 2010 revealed today that the relay will leave Ottawa and travel through celebration sites in Quebec City, an unnamed Central Canadian community, Victoria, Esquimalt, Squamish, Whistler, Lytton, Hope, Maple Ridge and Vancouver.


About 600 torchbearers will carry the flame in curved steel blue torches designed and manufactured by Bombardier.


Coca-Cola and RBC - both Olympic torch relay sponsors - will also sponsor the Paralympic torch relay, along with the British Columbia and Federal Governments.


Coca-Cola also announced today it will be an official partner of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, following its tradition of being a Games sponsor since 1992.


A special aboriginal-themed lighting ceremony will spark the Paralympic flame in Ottawa and torchbearers from all 10 Canadian provinces and three territories will participate in the ceremony.


About 1,000 athletes and officials from more than 40 countries will participate in five sports - alpine and cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, wheelchair curling and biathlon - during the Paralympic Games, which run from March 12 to March 21.


John Furlong, the chief executive of Vancouver 2010, said: "These 11 communities are sparks across this great land that shed light on and honour the remarkable athletic achievements of Paralympians and their triumphs over adversity.


"As the Paralympic Flame approaches Vancouver, this light will only grow stronger as Canadians and people around the world join together with us in a celebration of what is possible if you dare to dream."


"We encourage all Canadians to come out to see the Paralympic Flame when it visits a community near you."