The opening ceremony of the 2015 Pan Am Games began with a stunning pow wow based on the show's theme "From Dream to Reality.”
A crowd of about 45,000 spectators gathered Friday evening at Toronto's sold-out Rogers Centre, which has been renamed Pan Am Ceremonies Venue for the duration of the games.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) July 11, 2015
A pre-taped segment showed the end of the torch relay, featuring glamour shots of Toronto, but more importantly, a recreation of one of Canada's greatest sports moments as the torch passed from Robert Esmie to Glenroy Gilbert to Bruny Surin to Donovan Bailey, just as the baton did at the 4x100-metre relay race at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
The historic moment ended dramatically, with the CN Tower bursting with fireworks and leaving Bailey on the edge of the monument — and jumping. At least we finally knew why the CN Tower appeared to be on fire yesterday.
The pre-taped bit then transitioned to the live opening ceremony, with Bailey descending from the ceiling to pass the torch once more, to 15-year-old Canadian diver Faith Zacharias.
After a beautiful rendition of 'O Canada', athletes from competing countries entered the show.
And, of course, CANADA!
And here they are again, because once isn't enough.
Ok, last time. We promise.
More than 700 Canadians will compete at the Games.
Toronto is hosting a total of 41 countries and more than 10,000 athletes for the event which runs from July 10-26, along with the Parapan Am Games that will take place August 7-15.
The night continued with spectacular performances by Canada's internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil, and featured 625 performers from 25 nations.
Canadian public figures featured in the ceremony included humanitarian Craig Kielburger; former hockey stars Mark Messier and Bobby Orr; author Jewel Kats and astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Several political figures, such as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, were also in attendance.
Retired basketball star Steve Nash lit the games cauldron, as the night began to wrap up.
Friday night's ceremony ended with a breathtaking display of fireworks at the CN Tower.
What a night!
Tell us what you thought of the ceremony in the comments below.
With files from The Canadian Press
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