By The Canadian Press
TORONTO – The founder of the Invictus Games spent the hours leading up to the opening ceremonies visiting one of Canada’s top mental health facilities.
Prince Harry toured the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Saturday morning, participating in research roundtables and discussing treatment for youth.
Describing the complex issue as one requiring a “massive team effort,” Harry listened attentively to anecdotes from patients who sought treatment for mental health and addiction struggles at the facility in downtown Toronto.
One person in attendance told Harry that she still cherished a visit decades before from his mother, the late Princess Diana.
Outside the Centre, a crowd of people gathered to greet and welcome the Prince, who is in town to launch the Games he founded to help inspire and motivate wounded soldiers on their paths to recovery.
They let out an enthusiastic cheer upon his arrival and called his name when he emerged from his meeting. Harry shook hands with many of his well-wishers and took time to pet a dog who was on hand for the festivities.
One woman said it was “a thrill” to meet the Prince, who is in town to launch the Games he founded to help inspire and motivate wounded soldiers on their paths to recovery.
The event will officially get underway at Saturday evening’s opening ceremonies, which Harry will attend along with other dignitaries including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Harry will meet with both Trudeau and Gov. Gen. David Johnston in the hours before the ceremony.
The star-studded show is set to take place at the Air Canada Centre and will feature performances by Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara and the Tenors.
At least 550 competitors from 17 countries are slated to compete in 12 sports, including track and field, swimming and, in a first for the Invictus Games, golf.
Sporting event tickets cost $25 and both opening and closing ceremony tickets start at $60.
Closing ceremony performers include the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Kelly Clarkson.
The first Invictus Games were held in London, England, in 2014.
Dozens of onlookers gathered outside a building in Toronto’s financial district on Friday hoping to catch a glimpse of Harry, but the royal appeared determined to keep the focus on the Games, and didn’t stop to interact with fans who cheered and called out to him.
The Games run until Sept. 30.