A rare glimpse at Vancouver's 2010 Olympic cauldron under construction (PHOTOS)

Few symbols of the Olympics are as awe-inspiring as the cauldron that holds the Olympic flame.

For Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics, our cauldron is a towering 10-metre tall (32.8 feet), five-headed glass and steel structure that rests in a shallow pool.

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"Made of steel clad with polycarbonate and furnace glass, parabolic mirrors were installed behind the cladding to establish a crystalline effect, reflecting the Olympic Opening Ceremony’s 'fire on ice' theme when fully lit," explains Glotman-Simpson, the company that designed the base support and connections to the existing plaza framing. 

The total weight of the cauldron is approximately 33,600 kilograms, with the crystal centre at 3,600 kilograms and the four arms weighing in at 7,500 kilograms each.

Situated in what we now know as Jack Poole Plaza (formerly Thurlow Plaza), with the majestic North Shore mountains as backdrop, it was NHL legend Wayne Gretzky who touched the torch one final time to light its flame. 

"Following the longest national torch relay in Olympic history, the Olympic Cauldron was lit on Feb. 12, 2010 marking the official opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," reads the cauldron's plaque.

According to the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Vancouver Olympic cauldron was provided by FortisBC through a legacy investment and partnership with the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committees.

The cauldron was built here in Vancouver at Axton Manufacturing, which is owned by Vancouver's Noram Engineering. It took a month to assemble the cauldron. 

On special occasions the cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza is re-lit, including on Feb. 12, 2020 to mark the 10-year anniversary of the start of the 2010 games. It doesn't happen too often, though, because it happens to be pretty expensive to light — an estimated $6,400 for about four hours. 

The Olympic cauldron is one of several legacies from the 2010 Winter Olympics that has an enduring impact here in Vancouver and the region; other legacies that we continue to enjoy in the Vancouver area include things like the Canada Line, the Richmond Olympic Oval, Olympic Village, and the Sea to Sky Highway. Business In Vancouver has put together an interactive map of the 16 investments that built B.C.'s Olympic legacy

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