RICHMOND, B.C. - They make planes, trains and now -- torches.

Vancouver Olympic organizers have partnered with aerospace giant Bombardier to design and build the torches and cauldrons for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The deal will see the Quebec-based company supply the 12,000 torches for the relay and build the two Olympic flame cauldrons to be lit in both Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

"These icons symbolize the very essence of the Olympic and Paralympic spirit,'' Laurent Beaudoin, the chairman of the board for Bombardier, said when the deal was announced Tuesday.

"They embody peace, friendship and hope but they also represent unity and what the Olympic movement is all about -- faster, higher and stronger.''

In exchange, the company is now considered an official supporter of the Olympics, which requires a $15- to $50-million contribution to the Games, as well as the first signature supporter of the torch relay, which is a minimum $3 million contribution made in-kind.

A public bidding process was not used to seek a company to build and design the torch; Olympic organizers sought out Bombardier after considering the elements required for the process.

A team from Bombardier Aerospace and Bombardier Transportation has been at work for the last six months to develop both the torches and the cauldrons.

Beaudoin said the torches will be made from Canadian-sourced materials and built within Canada.

The International Olympic Committee signed off on the preliminary torch design earlier this month and what remains, Beaudoin said, is to figure out how it will stay lit through the coast-to-coast relay in the 100 days before the Games.

The design of the torch won't be unveiled until early next year, and the cauldrons not until the opening ceremonies.

"You can expect when you finally get to see the torch that it will be elegant, creative, sparkling and a true representation of Canadian genius,'' said John Furlong, the chief executive officer of the Vancouver organizing committee.

It is going to take some genius to design the torch, said Sam Shelton, who built the torches for the 1996 Games in Atlanta and the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

He also consulted on the torches for the 2006 Games in Torino and the 2008 torch for Beijing.

He was not contacted by either Bombardier or Vancouver's Olympic committee for assistance on the 2010 torch.

He says designing something that will keep the flame lit in so many different climates will be a challenge.