Prince Harry vows Toronto will play host to the largest and best Invictus Games in the event’s history to honour wounded and injured military service personnel and veterans from around the world in 2017.
“Toronto will take on the responsibility for a competition that has the power to inspire millions of people around the world to remind us all of the amazing contribution that our servicemen, women and veterans make,” the prince said during the event launch at the Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto on Monday.
“This city will become the focal point of hundreds of men and women who use the pull of Invictus glory to motivate their recovery from physical and mental injuries.”
The Games, scheduled for September 2017, is expected to draw 600 competitors from 16 countries in 12 sports.
Prince Harry, who arrived in Toronto on Sunday for his first visit in 25 years, joked Canada may even offer a clean sweep of the medals.
“The home team will face tough competition from 15 other nations, but your support will create a life-changing atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was also on hand to greet His Royal Highness, told Prince Harry of his gratitude to be chosen as the host country for the event in 2017.
“This was an opportunity for us to recognize the extraordinary service but also the extraordinary strength and resilience of those who choose to serve their country. For me it’s a extraordinary worthy initiative and we are very glad to be a part of this.”
Harry is making the stop in Toronto before heading to this year’s host Orlando, Fla. to kick off the Games in the next couple of weeks.
“The great thing about the prince is that he is obviously very committed to this cause. This is something that he started and he will be on the ground for an extended period of time during the 2017 Games,” said Invictus Games Toronto CEO Michael Burns prior to the media launch on Monday.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was also in attendance, promised $10 million over two years to support the event.
“It’s important to recognize and support to those who have given so much,” Wynne said. “The Invictus Games is another opportunity to honour these sacrifices and to provide tangible help to our wounded warriors and their journey to recover.”
Trudeau and Harry are scheduled to attend a promotional ice sledge event for the Games later Monday.
LIVE-BLOG: Follow the latest on Prince Harry’s trip to Toronto below.