Toronto Mayor John Tory says the Invictus Games have been “magnificent” and the city was pleased to host the week-long event in which wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans competed in several sports.
“If you look at it any which way, the stories are so inspiring,” Tory told CBC News Network on Saturday.
Tory said the games benefited not only the city and its residents, but also the athletes who, coping with injury and disability, used the competition in their recovery from the scars of war.
‘This was a great investment in humanity and in supporting these people who served our countries and protected our way of life and suffered injuries and disabilities because of that’
– John Tory, Toronto mayor
More than 550 athletes from 17 countries took part in 12 sports.
“And you talk to the relatives, which I had a chance to do sitting in the stands, and they talk about how important this has been, both the act of participating in these games, but also the encouragement that they had from the people who came out to cheer them on, and how much of a difference it has made in their lives, where they were traumatized by what had happened to them. And this is making a difference to them coming back,” Tory said.
“What kind of a great news story is that?”
Toronto residents embraced the games and supported the athletes, he said. The city donated use of its venues, including the Pan Am Sports Centre and Nathan Phillips Square, for the Games.
“The response has been magnificent,” he said.
Many seats were filled at venues after the games began, he said. “There has been great support for it.”
Asked if the city will lose money on the games, he said: “It doesn’t matter.”
Games drew people to Toronto
Tory said the games have helped to draw people to Toronto and enabled the city to give back.
“Whatever we invested was a good investment and it goes beyond dollars and cents. This was a great investment in humanity and in supporting these people who served our countries and protected our way of life and suffered injuries and disabilities because of that. It was a very, very good investment in people,” Tory said.
“You don’t measure it in a loss. They’re not meant to be run at a profit.”
Tory praised Prince Harry for founding the games in 2014 and said his appearance at various sporting events has motivated a lot of people to attend the games. “He’s been right in there,” he said.
Closing concert features Springsteen
The games are set to wrap up on Saturday night, when Bruce Springsteen is expected to perform at the two-hour closing ceremony, which is being held at Air Canada Centre downtown.
Springsteen will join Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Bachman & Turner and Coeur de Pirate in celebrating the success of the games. The closing ceremony has been dubbed a “celebration of spirit.”
Springsteen, aka the boss, has said it will be an “honour and a privilege” to perform.
The Invictus Games kicked off on Sept. 23. The Canadian team was composed of 90 veterans.
The word Invictus means “unconquered” in Latin.
Prince Harry was joined by @JoeBiden and @DrBiden for the thrilling final of the wheelchair basketball, to watch USA win #Invictus Gold! pic.twitter.com/9XhOdQ3m05