Veterans hope Toronto 2017 Invictus Games will raise awareness

Mar 17, 2016 | News

Serge Halytsky


Veteran groups and advocates are hopeful that third Invictus Games in Canada would rise awareness of wounded warriors and war veterans, issues they face on daily basis.

The third Invictus games, an international Paralympic style multi sport event, is coming to Toronto in September 2017. Over 600 wounded warriors from 16 countries would partake in the competition.

Prince Harry, who is the sponsor of the Games, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Jim Lowther, a disabled veteran who served two tours of duty in Bosnia, hopes that the 2017 Invictus games will bring  the Canadian government’s attention to veteran’s problems.

“Canadians have a sacred obligation to those who serve…that many seems to forget. Events like this remind them of both their obligation and the wonderful spirit of our nation.” – Michael Blais, president and a founder of Canadian Veteran Advocacy 

“We are helping homeless veterans and veterans in crisis, so hopefully the event will pick us up as a charity, or at least will give us some tickets, so we can give them to homeless veterans we helped, so they can go there and celebrate our wounded warriors,” Lowther told Humber News.

“I think it is a very positive message to those who have been wounded-disabled, that they can engage in sports and other life activities to higher level,” Michael Blais, president and a founder of Canadian Veteran Advocacy told Humber News.

“This is very high profile event, the precence of Prince Harry is certain to increase awareness to the Invictus games and … raise public awareness of our wounded, and the special needs they may require.”

Blais is also hopeful that through public awareness of the event, Canadians will start paying more attention to our military and the wounded.

“Canadians have a sacred obligation to those who serve…that many seems to forget,” Blais told Humber News. “Events like this remind them of both their obligation and the wonderful spirit of our nation.”

“It’s clear that with the sponsorship of Prince Harry…the 2017 Games will be very noteworthy to the Canadian public. There will be much positive publicity for veterans, particularly the wounded, which will raise public awareness of the plight of some veterans,” Ray Kokkonen, president of Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association told Humber News in an email.

Kokkonen also mentioned many improvements that he feels can be made to the New Veteran Charter, an act that regulates how and which benefits veterans receive.

Scott Maxwell, an executive director of injured Warriors of Canada told Humber News, “It would give very valuable experience to participants, physically or mentally injured soldiers. Prince Harry, who founded these games is a great asset all over. His name and the fact that he’s a soldier himself…attracts a lot of attention, and now it directed to wounded soldiers and veterans.”

Maxwell doesn’t think it would affect the ways the government addressing the problem, but it will have a great impact on everyone, seeing wounded warriors excel in sports and in life, no matter the consequences.

”Hosting the Games in Canada in 2017, the year the country celebrates the 150th anniversary of its Confederation, will provide a unique opportunity for Canadians to commemorate and honour its ill and injured soldiers, and their families,” Veteran Affairs Canada said in press-release.