Kensington Palace has announced that Prince Harry will touch down in Toronto on May 2 en route to the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. The royal will be in the city to officially kickoff the countdown to next year's event, which will take place on Canadian soil for the first time. The 31-year-old launched the Paralympic-style competition in 2014 in London.
Prince Harry will visit Toronto on 2nd May to mark the launch of the countdown to the 3rd Invictus Games in September 2017 @InvictusToronto
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 6, 2016
The news comes two weeks after it was announced that Toronto secured hosting duties for 2017. "Today, I am absolutely delighted to announce that the Invictus legacy will continue when Toronto hosts the third Invictus Games in September 2017," Prince Harry announced via video.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 16, 2016
The royal, who served in the British Armed Forces for a decade, during which time he met friends who now compete in the Invictus Games, went on to explain why next year is particularly meaningful.
"2017 is a year steeped in rich Canadian military history, marking the anniversaries of historic battles that shaped and defined the nation. It's also the year when Canada will commemorate it's 150th year of Confederation," he said. "I cannot 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."
With their trip to the Great White North, Harry promises that the games will be the biggest yet, and include some very Canadian events. "The Invictus Games in Toronto will have more competitors, more participating nations and more sports than ever before - and it will even involve competing on ice, as this is Canada after all."
A passion project for patron Prince Harry, the Invictus Games is a Paralympic-style sporting event that sees wounded servicemen and women compete for top honours, aimed in part at helping with their rehabilitation and recovery.
“These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning round to clap the last man in,” reads a quote from the prince on the Invictus Games’ website. “These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit."
The inaugural event saw 400 competitors from 13 nations participating in nine different sports, with 11 Canadians taking part in 2015. This year, 30 Canucks are headed to Orlando, and as many as 100 are expected at the homegrown games.
Prince Harry hasn't officially been in Canada since a tour in 2007, during which time the former soldier was stationed near Medicine Hat, Alb. training at Canadian Forces Base Suffield.