Toronto to host Invictus Games in 2017

The adaptive sporting event celebrates camaraderie, service and the healing power of competition

(photo credit John Rieti/CBC)

His Royal Highness Prince Harry joined Canadian dignitaries and hundreds of active and veteran service men and women this morning to officially launch the countdown to the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017.

“We created a platform which helped to smash the stigma that existed around [veterans’] injuries, particularly for those missing limbs, who showed that they weren’t afraid to talk about their experiences,” said Prince Harry. “They showed us that despite huge adversity, the impossible was possible.”

The Invictus Games are the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick soldiers, both serving and veteran. The name is derived from the Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley, which includes the lines:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

Prince Harry told a rapt audience that he was inspired to support the Games after his tour of Afghanistan in 2008. Prince Harry’s tour of duty was cut short after his cover was made public.

While waiting to depart, Harry witnessed the coffin of a Danish soldier being loaded aboard the plane. He also saw three British soldiers “lads younger than I was at the time” on stretchers in medically-induced comas, wrapped in plastic, attached to clinical tubes, and missing limbs.

Those images stuck with the young royal as he grappled with his inability to serve along the front lines at that time.

Some time later, he took inspiration from the Warrior Games in Colorado, where Harry became a believer that sport could make a positive difference.

“Seeing so many men and women competing against each other with huge beaming smiles made me realize how powerful this concept was,” said Harry.

The inaugural Invictus Games took place in London, England, in September 2014. Orlando, Florida will host the 2016 Games from May 8 to 12. The 2017 Games will include more than 600 competitors from 16 nations competing in 12 adaptive sports.

Also in attendance today were the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and Her Honour, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Ontario Premier Kathlynne Wynne, along with Former Chief of the Defence Staff for Canadian Forces General Rick Hillier.

Medcan CEO Shaun Francis serves as the Chair of the True Patriot Love Foundation, which he founded to benefit Canada’s military families. The foundation was key in securing Toronto’s hosting of the Invictus Games.

Medcan is honoured to be an official sponsor of the Invictus Game and we look forward to supporting the participants, their families and members of the Games committee.

Members of the HMCS York, a Canadian Forces Naval Reserve Division located in Toronto. It serves as a training unit to 200 full-time and part-time naval personnel.

The Invictus Games showcase sport at the very best by servicemen and women post-injury or still on their journey to recovery. Coming together to compete, inspire and celebrate. Top row: members of Team Canada set for Orlando. Bottom left: members of HMCS York. Right: HRH Prince Harry. Medcan is honoured to be a health and wellness sponsor #His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other dignitaries addressed a room of active and veteran service men, women and families to celebrate Team Canada ahead of the Orlando games and officially launch Invictus Games Toronto 2017 when Canada’s unconquerable wounded compete against 15 other countries to demonstrate that the human spirit can thrive after injury. Medcan is honoured to be an official health and leadership sponsor #camaraderie #sport #service #InvictusGames #inspire

A photo posted by Medcan (@medcan_livewell) on

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