TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Opening Ceremony, produced by B5C Productions, a joint venture involving Toronto-based BaAM Productions and FiveCurrents, welcomed more than 1,600 athletes from 28 countries to the largest ever Parapan Am Games through a vibrant celebration of the unity of the many cultures of both Toronto and the participating countries and territories of the Americas.
Hosted at the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University in Toronto, the Opening Ceremony kicked off with a moving rendition of O Canada, performed by Franco-Ontarian Gabrielle Goulet, while the Canadian flag was raised by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.
The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat First Nation, the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Métis Nation of Ontario then celebrated the tradition and spirit of the four ancestral nations of the Host Region with a moving performance of the beginnings of Canada and the current generation's commitment to keeping First Nations and Métis traditions alive.
Following the raising of the flags of the Americas Paralympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee, Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015), spoke about the true heroes of the Games, the athletes, and the impact their journey of determination will leave for all who witness them.
"When we see these amazing athletes compete, we see spirit and strength that shows us anything is possible. These Games will change attitudes, inspire accessibility and inclusivity, creating space for the unlimited potential of all people," said Rafi.
The courage of veterans who have strived to overcome incredible odds through sport, competition and fair play came through as spectators witnessed their training and experienced their warrior spirit and inner strength. The story told of how veterans Sgt. Steve Daniel, Paralympic rower, and Cpl. Dominic Larocque, Paralympic bronze medallist, sledge hockey, began their journey of courage.
The two flames, which have travelled across Ontario, were then united for the ceremony's next segment. The flame was passed to Rick Mercer, host of CBC's Television's Rick Mercer Report, followed by Rick Hansen, Canada's Man in Motion, who then passed it to Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc, who carried the flame to its final destination: the Parapan Am Games community cauldron.
Toronto native and rising star, Francesco Yates, who has been working on his debut album with producers Pharrell Williams and Robin Hannibal, stole the show with his songs "Better to Be Loved," "Call" and "Honey, I'm Home."
For the finale, fireworks filled the sky above the stadium at York University.
With competitions in 15 sports for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games now underway, great tickets are still available, including popular sessions such as wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, swimming and athletics. Act fast and don't miss the action! Visit TORONTO2015.org/tickets today.
To see photos from the Opening Ceremony, please visit TORONTO2015.mediaroom.com.
The TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games take place August 7–15. The TORONTO 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as Lead Partner CIBC and other partners and sponsors.
SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games