In March 2016, Prince Harry announced via video that the third Invictus Games had been awarded to Toronto, Canada. The organizing committee received the news with great pride, as did the military community, government leaders and the Canadian public.
Canadians have a powerful feeling of empathy for our soldiers, veterans and their families. They recognize that service members experience a wide range of physical and psychological challenges when serving and after they have left the military. However, there is often little opportunity for Canadians to show their support for active duty and veteran service members and their families. That’s because the military experience, for most Canadians, is far removed from their day-to-day existence. When Canadians are reminded of the sacrifice of their military members—often as a result of tragedy such as the death of a soldier—they respond with gratitude and support.
Hosting the Games in Canada in 2017—the year the country celebrates the 150th anniversary of its Confederation and of significant military anniversaries including the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge—will provide a unique opportunity for Canadians to commemorate and honour the country’s ill, wounded and injured soldiers and their families.
The Invictus Games Toronto 2017, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, will serve as this reminder. And it will help to reawaken the latent empathy Canadians feel for their military, transforming it by empowering the Canadian public, politicians and businesses to solicit long-term advocacy, donations and support for the country’s service members and military families in need.