05/31/2015 12:20 EDT | Updated 05/31/2016 05:59 EDT

Pan Am Games Torch Relay lights Toronto 2015 flame for Thunder Bay residents

Olympian Curt Harnett says he was honoured to bring the Pan Am Games torch relay to his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont. on Sunday as the flame begins its 41-day journey back to Toronto for the opening ceremonies on July 10.

The Games flame arrived in Toronto on Saturday and was then flown to Thunder Bay where the relay began after a sunrise ceremony at Fort William First Nation. 

Harnett, Canada's chef de mission for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, was greeted at Thunder Bay city hall by cheers and hugs from old friends.

"It's fun to be back on these roads that I cut my teeth on, on the bike, and the opportunities my bike brought to me to travel the world," said Harnett, the only Canadian cyclist to win three Olympic medals

'Catch the spirit' .

More than 30 local torch bearers were taking part in the relay through Thunder Bay and out to the Terry Fox monument on Highway 11/17.

Judy Bouchard said she signed up to carry the flame "just to be part of the Games and catch the spirit."

"I just decided that I'm going to take challenges from now on in life and do whatever experiences come my way that I can," she said as she prepared to take the cauldron at city hall and begin the run down May Street.

The relay is headed down the north shore of Lake Superior to Wawa, Ont., tonight and will visit a total of 130 communities. The torch will be back in Toronto on July 4 before the start of the games.