Toronto’s glittering culture and its talent for visually striking performance powered the Opening Ceremony of Invictus Games last night, at Air Canada Centre. Organizers unleashed parades, bands, drums, singers and dancers in a display aimed to delight a worldwide audience.
Prince Harry, the founder of the games was present at the spectacular ceremony to initiate the proceedings and mark the official opening. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was the first speaker, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Melania Trump joined him at the festivities.
The evening was abounding with inspiring speeches and entertainment, starting with Luca “Lazy Legs” Patuelli, a Montreal break dancing performer with arthrogryposis, a neuromuscular disease that affects the use of his legs.
The show kicked-off with a parade that celebrated the arrival of more than 500 athletes from 17 countries in the stadium. In the Parade of Nations, where the athletes walk through the stadium, the delegations were announced in alphabetical order and the Canadian Team, led by flag-bearer Phil Badanai made a grand debut amidst loud cheers at the end.
Mike Myers, a Canadian comedian and Ambassador for the Games said “he was Brit by birth, American by God’s Grace and Canadian by divine intervention.” He spoke about his military family as both parents served in the Second World War. Rick Hansen and Captain Trevor Greene also gave emotional, awe-inspiring speeches.
The CEO of Invictus Games, Michael Burns while greeting the audience thanked the 1800+ volunteers who have been working tirelessly for their ideas. Dr. Ralf Speth, the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, the title sponsor of the games also spoke a few kind, encouraging words.
The ceremony’s highlights were a range of performances from internationally renowned singers. The Tenors, who sang the national anthem, dedicated it to the veterans. Grammy award winning recording artiste Sarah McLachlan rendered beautiful numbers while the Invictus Flag was being raised. There were other inspiring performances from Alessia Cara and Quebec folk group La Bottine Souriante.
The awesome ceremony was such that the world would fall in love with the city for putting up such an epic global event. We showed the world that we are warm-hearted, cool people who salute and celebrate life.
After presenting the cultural gems for the audience which included the wounded veterans, now we are ready to witness an intense sporting competition over the next 10 days. They are here “not just to inspire, but to win” like our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it!
The games are on! Over the next week or so, the warriors/athletes will compete in different arenas and stadiums in a sports gala. There are quite a free events for everyone to enjoy. For tickets to individual events and other details, please visit http://www.invictusgames2017.com/.
Enjoy! Celebrate! Cheer! Encourage!
Three cheers to Torontonians, leaders, the athletes, their friends and families, sponsors, volunteers and the community as a whole! Together we win!
Hip, Hip, Hurray!!