Chief Bryan Laforme welcomes Pan Am Games to traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit.
Chief Bryan Laforme (back row, second from right) joins members of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Games Organizing Committee for a photo. The Mississaugas of the New Credit are the official Host First Nation for the games.
TORONTO ONT-An enthusiastic crowd filled Toronto's Nathan Phillip Square and basked in glorious sunshine last Friday as the Cisco countdown clock began counting down the days until the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
With a majority of the competition sites located in Toronto, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN), the honour of welcoming the world to the games fell to Chief Bryan Laforme.
"As Host First Nation, it is with great pride that I welcome you to the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit," said Laforme. The Chief noted that organizers see the games as a "catalyst for strengthening the relationship between Canada and First Nations people."
Chief Laforme told the crowd that the games were more than a sporting event and to be judged a success the games must engage youth and provide opportunities for cultural exchange.
"Most importantly, for us as Host First Nation, is the opportunity to tell our story and share our history and culture with the wider world. The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to do just that. The countdown clock starts ticking today on what I am confident will be a memorable event," Laforme concluded.
As Host First Nation, MNCFN will work with TO2015 on ceremonies, community sport activations, arts and culture, youth programming, employment, internship opportunities and economic development. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne picked up Chief Laforme's theme of the opportunity provided by the games. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our city, our province and our country," Wynne began.
"I'm thrilled to be here on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. I want to acknowledge Chief Bryan Laforme and thank him for his support and his welcome to the traditional territory," said Wynne.
The Premier sees the games as an opportunity to showcase Ontario's youth. She added the games will also "allow Aboriginal communities, as Chief Laforme said, to tell the stories that have not been told so well in this province and this country." Wynne also declared, "The games will be an opportunity to show off our beautiful province and our vibrant culture to over 250,000 visitors from around the world."
With the conclusion of the official remarks, Cirque de Soleil provided the crowd with a sample of its entertaining acrobatics and the Cisco countdown clock began ticking off the seconds until the start of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.