Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

March 12, 2009 10:00 ET

The Government of Canada Counts Down to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games at a Celebration in Quebec

CFB VALCARTIER, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 12, 2009) - On behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State for Sport, Senator Andree Champagne participated in activities to celebrate the one-year countdown to the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. In Ottawa, Minister Lunn raised the Paralympic flag on Parliament Hill as part of the one-year countdown activities.

Senator Champagne was joined at CFB Valcartier by Paralympic athletes Benoit St-Armand (ice sledge hockey), Sgt (ret'd) Steve Daniel (rowing), Warrant Officer Andrew MacLean, Greg Lagace of the Canadian Forces Soldier On program, as well as the 2010 Winter Games mascots Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga.

"The 2010 Paralympic Games will be the first time Canada will host the Paralympic Winter Games. This is an exciting opportunity to support our Canadian Paralympic athletes and share in their dream of winning gold at home," said Minister Lunn. "Our athletes are showing the world what they are made of, and in 2010 they will shine here at home."

"To be a Paralympic athlete takes exceptional passion, focus, and dedication," said Senator Champagne. "Athletes like Steve Daniel are not only success stories from the Soldier On program, but are a true inspiration to all Canadians, and we will all cheer them on in 2010."

"An injury doesn't have to be the end of military career, nor the end of a sporting career," said the Honourable Peter Mackay, Minister of National Defence. "Paralympic athletes demonstrate to everyone that physical disability is no obstacle to achieving the dream of competing against the world's finest athletes."

The 2010 Paralympic Games will be the tenth edition of the Paralympic Games. The following sport competitions will be staged for the Games:

- Alpine skiing, including events for both men and women in downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined

- Cross-country skiing, including short distance, middle distance, long distance, and relay events for men and women

- Ice sledge hockey tournament for men

- Wheelchair curling mixed tournament

- Biathlon, including short- and long-distance events for men and women

For more information, see the attached backgrounder.

This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.


About the Paralympic Movement:

In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann organized a sports competition in Stoke Mandeville, England involving World War II veterans with a spinal cord injury. Four years later, competitors from the Netherlands joined the games and an international movement was born. Olympic style games, now called Paralympics, were organized for the first time in Rome in 1960. In Toronto, in 1976, athletes with other types of disabilities began to compete. In the same year, the first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden.

The Paralympics are growing fast and have become an important international sport event. The need to govern the Games more efficiently and to speak with one voice to the International Olympic Committee resulted in the foundation of the International Co-ordination Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC) in 1982. The ICC was replaced by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 1989. It was the strong wish of the member nations to form this organization with a democratic constitution and elected representatives. The IPC was founded in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1989.

Today, the Paralympics are an elite sport event for athletes from six different disability groups. They emphasize, however, the participants' athletic achievements rather than their disability. The movement has grown dramatically since its first days. The number of athletes participating in Paralympic Summer Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3,806 athletes from 136 countries in Athens in 2004.

The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games. As well, since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Summer Games and the Albertville 1992 Paralympic Winter Games, they have also taken place at the same venues as the Olympics. On June 19, 2001, an agreement was signed between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the IPC securing this practice for the future. From the 2018 bid process onwards, the host city chosen to host the Olympic Games is obligated to also host the Paralympics.

The word "Paralympic" derives from the Greek preposition "para" ("beside" or "alongside") and the word "Olympics" (the Paralympics being the parallel Games to the Olympics). The word Paralympic was originally a pun combining "paraplegic" and "Olympic," however with the inclusion of other disability groups and the close associations with the Olympic Movement, it now represents "parallel" and "Olympic" to illustrate how the two movements exist side by side.

About the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games:

The Government of Canada will welcome the 650 athletes from more than 40 countries that will gather in Canada to compete at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

The Paralympic Games is an elite sport event for athletes from six different disability groups that emphasizes the participants' athletic achievements rather than their disability. The idea of merging different disability groups for international sport competitions was born in Canada, and this country remains a strong advocate of the Paralympic Games movement.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and all partners involved in organizing the Games, including the Government of Canada, are committed to leveraging the Paralympic Winter Games to ensure unprecedented high-profile exposure of the event.

2010 will mark the tenth Paralympic Winter Games. This is the perfect chance to highlight the achievements of our Canadian Paralympians and to celebrate their contributions to the sporting world.

The Paralympic Games is the premiere sporting event for athletes with a physical disability. The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will be the very first time in the history of the Paralympic Winter Games that Canadian Paralympians will be competing with the home-field advantage.

About CFB Valcartier:

CFB Valcartier was originally erected as a military training camp in August 1914 as part of the mobilization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the onset of World War I. The name Valcartier comes from the town of St. Gabriel de Valcartier, of which a large section was expropriated in order to create the military training camp. Currently, Valcartier Garrison is home to 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. The following units are stationed at Valcartier:

- Quartier general et escadron de transmissions, 5e Groupe-brigade mecanise du Canada

- 5e Regiment d'artillerie legere du Canada (5 RALC)

- 12e Regiment blinde du Canada (12 RBC)

- 5e Regiment du genie de combat

- 1er Battalion, Le Royal 22e Regiment

- 3e Battalion, Le Royal 22e Regiment

- 5 Field Ambulance

- 5 Military Police Platoon.

The base also houses 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, 5 Service Battalion (which also provides services from the St-Jean and Montreal garrisons), CI SQFT (Land Force Quebec Area Training Centre), in addition to providing training facilities for most Quebec-based reserve units. The Myriam Bedard Biathlon Training Centre is also located on the base.

CFB Valcartier is also home to a Defence Research and Development Canada location, which conducts military research for the Canadian Forces.

About the Canadian Forces Soldier On program:

Soldier On is symbolic of the women and men of the Canadian Forces. In essence, it is the spirit of heroic inner perseverance and courage of the sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen of the Canadian Forces combined with the physical motion of marching forward, onward, and upward, toward the success of any given mission.

The program was created in 2007, with collaboration from the Canadian Paralympic Committee, to contribute to optimizing the functional independence of injured soldiers by delivering services that support their full and active participation in physical activities, recreation, or sport. The program will promote and support the return to military service and is accomplished through close working relations with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces.

The origins of the Paralympic Movement (, the global sports movement for athletes with a disability that parallels the Olympics, are linked to the rehabilitative care of WWII veterans, including some of the 55,000 Canadian soldiers injured during the war.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of State (Sport)
    Michelle Yao
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations