Events and celebrations

Beijing Torch Relay

Canberra, sister city of Beijing was proud to host the only Australian leg of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Torch Relay on 24 April 2008. Canberrans and visitors to the city cheered on their Australian heroes as they carried the Olympic flame through Canberra. 

There was significant global media coverage of the Olympic Torch Relay while it was in Canberra. Widespread acclaim for event organisers, volunteers and participants, including torchbearers, entertainers and community groups was unsurpassed in the Relay's global journey to Beijing. 

Dawn fireworks

The festivities commenced with a display of fireworks before dawn on the picturesque shores of Lake Burley Griffin. 

balloons aloft

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Hot air balloons ascended from the early morning mist over the Parliamentary Triangle. 


A free community breakfast drew large crowds of spectators many witnessing a traditional welcome to country by the Indigenous people of Canberra.

The official lighting ceremony at Reconciliation Place marked the commencement of the Relay which was broadcast to a global audience of millions.

During the torch’s journey through Canberra, it passed by some of Canberra’s major icons and landmarks including Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial.

farewell concert stage 88

The Olympic flame was farewelled with a ceremony and lively concert at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park, before travelling to Nagano, Japan. 

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