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Flame of Hope
Queen Mum Flame July 7 1989
The Queen Mother kindles the Flame of Hope in 1989
Coordinates 42°59′23″N 81°13′55″W / 42.989833°N 81.231887°W / 42.989833; -81.231887Coordinates: 42°59′23″N 81°13′55″W / 42.989833°N 81.231887°W / 42.989833; -81.231887
Location 442 Adelaide Street
London, Ontario, Canada
Designer Robert Geard
Material onyx granite
Height 2.1 metres
Completion date June 21, 1989
Dedicated to All individuals affected by diabetes

The Flame of Hope is an eternal flame that honours Sir Frederick Banting's discovery of insulin, as well as all those who have been affected by diabetes located in London, Ontario, Canada. Simultaneously, it serves as a reminder that insulin manages diabetes but does not cure it; ultimately, it stands for the hope that a cure will soon be found.

The Flame will only be extinguished when a cure for diabetes is developed. The team responsible for finding the cure will be flown in to do so.

The Flame of Hope was kindled before 4,000 spectators by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on July 7, 1989.

Location and construction

The Flame of Hope is located in London, Ontario. It sits front and center in Sir Frederick G. Banting Square, which is adjacent to Banting House National Historic Site of Canada.

The monument beneath the Flame was designed by Robert Geard. It is a 15-tonne, tapered monument made of onyx granite, and stands 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) tall. The monument is acid-rain-proof, and the Flame (with the help of coordinator George Prociw) is designed to withstand wind, rain, and snow, going at least 17 kilometres (11 mi) an hour.

It was completed with a natural gas system, and a low shield of granite for the Flame. To avoid chipping, the monument was lowered onto its resting place with ice cubes.

Events

There are many organizations and individuals that use the Flame of Hope as a symbol or namesake for their fundraising events. A few of these include:

  • The Flame of Hope Walk/Run for Diabetes is a recurring fundraising event with multiple dates and locations each year. It is organized by the PEI Region of Diabetes Canada. Participators choose between a 5km walk and a 5km fun run, neither of which are competitive.
  • The Flame of Hope Trail Ride was an annual event that has since been discontinued, that was run out of Elmira, Ontario. In the 2001-2002 year, it won the Melvin Jones Award.
  • Many Flame of Hope Golf Tournaments are held by Diabetes Canada, in locations such as Edmonton, Alberta, Copetown, Ontario, and Gibbons, Alberta.

Media

  • Within the same calendar year that the Flame of Hope was first lit, it was vandalized. A 26-year-old man admitted to smothering the monument with his jacket, ultimately smashing the ignition switches and burners, and causing $1,760 in damage. The Queen Mother sent a letter expressing her regret, and encouraging its re-kindling. The man responsible, who was remorseful, was sentenced to do community service, as well as pay for the repairs. The monument was upgraded to a more "tamper-proof" design.
  • The Dreamwalkers event, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, took place in October 1996. The celebration was held in London, Ontario, where participators walked from Victoria Park to Banting House. Once there, the crowd watched as Judge J. M. Seneshen re-dedicated the Flame of Hope. The Queen Mother also sent her personal greetings for the event, expressing her own hope that a cure for diabetes was close at hand.
  • The Royal Canadian Mint celebrated the anniversary of the day Banting was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine by issuing a $100, 14 karat gold coin. The coin was designed by the same man who created the loon design on the Canadian one dollar coin still in circulation today, Robert-Ralph Carmichael. The "insulin coin" depicts the Flame of Hope evolving into figures inspired by those on the medal for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; a theme reminiscent of respect for the past and hope for the future.
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