Prince Harry will be bringing an international sports competition for wounded troops to Toronto next year.
The Invictus Games, founded by the 31-year-old royal, will be hosted by Canada’s largest city in the fall of 2017.
“I am absolutely delighted to announce that the Invictus legacy will continue when Toronto hosts the third Invictus Games,” Harry said in a video statement issued Wednesday.
“It’s also the year when Canada will commemorate its 150th anniversary of Confederation. I can’t think of a better way to mark this milestone than by paying tribute to the soldiers and veterans who have served their country so bravely and to support them along their journey to recovery.”
The Invictus Games is a sporting competition for wounded, injured and sick troops and includes both current and veteran members of the forces. It aims to use sport to inspire recovery and draw awareness to the physical and psychological injuries suffered by service members.
Harry founded the games after a 2013 visit to the U.S.-based Warrior Games, a domestic sporting competition for ill and injured American service members and veterans. Looking to establish an expanded version of those games, Harry set up the Invictus Games, named after the Latin word for unconquered.
The games were first held in London in 2014 and involved more than 400 competitors from 13 countries. The Toronto games, set for September 2017, will feature more competitors and more sports than the event has had before, Harry said.
“It will even involve competing on ice, because this is Canada after all,” he said.
Harry will be heading to Toronto in May to officially launch the city’s games before travelling to Orlando, Fla., where this year’s Invictus Games will be held.
Bruno Guevremont, captain of Team Canada for the upcoming games, said taking part in the event in Canada will mean a great deal.
“Competing in the Invictus Games on home soil will provide me and my fellow military competitors with the pride and confidence needed to push our minds and bodies beyond what we thought was possible – to represent our country shoulder-to-shoulder, as we once did.”
The Invictus Games Foundation says Toronto won the rights to the 2017 event because it demonstrated “a real understanding of the core concept and vision” of the games. It also noted that the city recently hosted the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city was looking forward to welcoming the event.
“Sport has the unique power to change lives,” he said. “The service men and women who participate in these Games deserve to be honoured and Toronto is proud to be the stage on which they will stand as they step into the world spotlight.”
National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan added that it was a privilege for Canada to host the games.
“The sacrifices of the women and men who serve in the military are great,” he said.
“It is a privilege for Canada to host Invictus Games participants as they remind the world that sickness doesn’t equal weakness.”