His Royal Highness Prince Harry met with Canadian winners of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel in Toronto on Sunday, 25 September.
One hundred and fifty young people – a nod, perhaps to Canada 150 – were awarded the Gold level by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, and then each spent a minute or two chatting with Prince Harry as he made his way around the room.
Peter Lawless, the Vice President of the Canadian Olympic Committee and a former Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participant, spoke at the ceremony and told the crowd, “I hope you see the receipt of this award not as a destination but as a milestone on a lifelong journey.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded in Canada – under the ‘International’ umbrella – in 1963. In that time, over 500,000 young Canadians have been awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze levels of the award. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, created the award scheme in 1956 as a way to motivate young people and give them a well-rounded experience. It has expanded to 144 countries.
Prince Harry is in Toronto this week for the Invictus Games, which opened Saturday night. In a speech at the Opening Ceremony, His Royal Highness spoke of the dedication of the competitors, saying, “I hope you are ready for some fierce competition. I hope you are ready to see the meaning of teamwork, the proof that anything is possible when we work together.
“I hope you are ready to see courage and determination that will inspire you to power through the challenges in your own life. I hope you are ready to see the role models in action that any parent would want their children to look up to. And I hope you’re ready to see lives changing in front of your eyes.”