Vancouver Olympic organizers are expected to announce Monday the details of the cross-Canada torch relay in a bid to boost the profile of the 2010 Winter Games.
The announcement comes as the organizing committee, known as VANOC, released survey data that suggest a significant number of Canadians — particularly in the East — still don't know where the 2010 Olympics are taking place.
A poll conducted for the committee in November asked respondents to name the location of the 2010 Olympics, and 66 per cent correctly identified Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.
The level of awareness was less than 60 per cent in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, and less than 70 per cent in Ontario, said VANOC spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade, noting that complete survey results will be released in the next few weeks.
"At two years out, without even having done a lot of major promotion and a lot of advertising, we're thrilled, because it can only go up from here," Smith-Valade said.
As expected, the numbers in Western Canada were much higher: more than 70 per cent in Saskatchewan, above 80 in Alberta and well into the 90s in British Columbia.
On average, the latest figures are more than 10 percentage points higher than a federal government survey that asked the same question in June 2007.
Correct responses in that poll ranged from 43 per cent in Quebec to 68 per cent in Alberta. Nearly every respondent in B.C. knew the right answer.
Smith-Valade said VANOC will be reaching out to all regions of the country as the Games approach.
"We wanted to make the announcement in Halifax because the Games really are for all Canadians and we want to share the message right across the country," she said.
"We're going to be making announcements and having a strong presence in all markets across the country in the next two years."
She said the popularity of the Olympic mascots and recent podium performances by Canadian athletes have helped raise the profile of the Games.
The most recent poll, conducted over four days in November, surveyed 1,679 people and is considered accurate within 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error increases for regional results.
The survey didn't ask respondents whether they supported the Games, and Smith-Valade said those questions will be addressed later on.
The Olympics have drawn the ire of a number of groups in British Columbia, some of them concerned the international event will hurt the region's poor, damage the environment and leave a large hole in the province's coffers.
The Vancouver Olympics will be held from Feb. 12 to 28, 2010, while the Paralympic Games will run from March 12 to 21.