Special Olympics Canada | Olympiques Spéciaux Canada
12 floor hockey players

were brought to Chicago by Harold Smith to represent Canada at the first International Special Olympics in 1968

4364 basketball players

are currently registered with Special Olympics. Basketball is one of the newest sports to be added to our roster.

Team Canada

Join The Torch Run

Beyond the call of duty

Between law enforcement officers of the country and our organization there is a shared belief that everyone has a fundamental right to dignity, acceptance and respect. It is this belief that makes the Torch Run such an important event for us, and so much more than just a fundraiser.

For Johanne Lesage of the Montreal Police Service, the question is not “why become involved with Special Olympics?” but rather “why not?” Involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics since 1997, Lesage is the program’s director in Quebec.

“Because of what we do, people can look at police officers very differently, sometimes very negatively, and that can make our jobs difficult,” she says. “But there is something indescribable about how Special Olympics athletes make you feel, because of the belief they have in themselves. On difficult days, they definitely give me that push to move forward.”

Across our country, more than 12,000 men and women like Lesage in the law enforcement community work through the Torch Run to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics. It can be said that each goes well beyond the call of duty to make tremendous differences in the lives of children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability. Whether in a boardroom, or on the field of play as a coach, they move easily between the roles of extraordinary fundraisers and organizers to trusted friends and heroes to Special Olympics athletes and their families.

And this is because they share in our belief that everyone has the fundamental right to dignity, acceptance and respect.

At its most basic, the Torch Run is a running event in which officers run the Flame of Hope™ into stadiums across the country for the opening ceremony of local, regional and national winter and summer competitions.

At its most fully developed, the Torch Run has grown to include a wide range of fundraising initiatives. In Canada, more than $3.8 million dollars were raised in 2014 through campaigns and events like roof sits, Polar Bear Plunges, the World’s Largest Truck Convoy, plane pulls and Toonies for Torches.

In the end, it has become our movement’s single largest grassroots fundraiser and awareness vehicle.

Next year marks an important milestone for the Torch Run in Canada. 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Torch Run to Canada. (It began in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas.) Chief Jack Marks (Ret’d) and Lorne White, a now retired officer within the Toronto Police Service, had a vision and successfully organized the very first Torch Run on Canadian soil in Toronto in June 1987. It involved 1,120 runners drawn from 36 law enforcement agencies, and covered more than 900 kilometres before arriving to light the flame in Varsity Arena for the opening of the International Floor Hockey Tournament.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact your local Torch Run representative listed on our contacts page.

  • Contact

    To learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those with an intellectual disability, as well as your own, through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, please contact your regional representative.

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