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Message of peace a front-runner at Winter Games opening ceremony

Last Updated Feb 9, 2018 at 6:38 pm EST

Fireworks, a frozen landscape and the message of peace all played a part in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games.

Athletes from around the world paraded through the stadium.

A huge crowd then came into the stadium in the formation of a dove – the symbol of peace.

Ice dance stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who skate the ice dance portion of the team event Sunday, were all smiles as they led Canada’s red-clad contingent into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, one of 92 nations to enter the chilly 35,000-seat facility on a blustery night where temperatures dipped to -8 C with the wind chill.

Virtue, of London, Ont., took the first turn with the Maple Leaf before passing it to Moir, of Ilderton, Ont., halfway through their tour of the venue.

The pair won ice dance gold at the 2010 Games before capturing silver in 2014, and are a good bet to reach the podium again in South Korea.

The Canadians waved to the crowd, snapped selfies and danced to the music, but like the rest of the countries in the parade nations, they moved a little faster than usual to get to their seats – probably because of the cold.

The 225-member team is the Canada’s largest for a Winter Olympics, but some of the athletes skipped the festivities, while others indicated beforehand they would leave soon after their march around the pentagon-shaped stadium with the official start of competition looming Saturday.

There are high expectations for Canadians at the Games.

The expectation is that Canada will finish third. There are 15 sports being played and 306 medals will be presented.

One of the biggest concerns for all the athletes is the contagious Norovirus. Everyone trying to keep themselves healthy, not even shaking hands, to avoid the risk.