Who We Are
One of the world’s most powerful social movements
In a column that seems as if it could have been written yesterday, The Globe and Mail’s Stephen Brunt once wrote: “Watch Special Olympics, and wonder whether it might make you believe again.”
Visit any skating rink or snow-covered ski hill, venture over to a swimming pool or a soccer field where a Special Olympics program is in full swing, and no doubt you will see heartwarming stories playing out; stories of commitment, bravery and purpose that have made so many people believe in this extraordinary movement.
Special Olympics was founded upon one simple notion: sport has an incredible capacity to transform lives, change attitudes and make communities stronger. By bringing people together, Special Olympics teaches us to recognize our similarities rather than focusing on our differences.
From St. John’s to Victoria to Whitehorse, the reach of our grassroots movement is profound and the benefits to those children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability who are registered in its programs, as well as those that matter most to them, is undeniable.
As a chapter within the larger global movement –there are now more than 229 accredited programs in 170 countries servicing more than 3.7 million– Special Olympics Canada has come a long way since it began in 1969.
Then, one single competition attracted 1,400 individuals with an intellectual disability from across the country.
Today, more than 34,000 children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability are registered in our programs which run literally every day of the week out of local sport clubs. They, in turn, are supported by an extraordinary network of more than 16,400 volunteers; Canadians from all walks of life who are committed to help accomplish something remarkable, something extraordinary.
And so, Special Olympics is no longer just an event. Rather it has become one of the world’s most powerful and effective social movements. One that is fortunate to receive tremendous support from a loyal group of community, corporate and government partners as well as individual supporters who all share in our belief in the extraordinary power of sport and the success that can be had through Special Olympics.
For individuals with an intellectual disability, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities, and to develop a strong belief in themselves. For many, it is a gateway to empowerment, competence, and acceptance.
Special Olympics Canada is here to serve the needs of this disability population – from its very youngest to its more mature, from the individual who will stay active for life, regularly participating in sport at his or her local club, through to the athlete who will advance and compete at national and international competitions.
Join us and be part of the success of this global sport movement here in Canada. Help us bring the power of sport to one more person.
Our chapters play an active and integral part in their communities. Working tirelessly to enrich the lives of those involved in our programs, each chapter consists of an incredible group of people dedicated to the goals of Special Olympics.Read More
Our vision is to continue to improve and expand the quality, opportunity and accessibility of sport to individuals with an intellectual disability. Along with this, we will strive to improve upon both the awareness and support of the community in regards to Special Olympics Canada and those involved with us. As an organization, we will work to ensure our volunteers are strongly committed to acting locally while thinking globally. Through these steps, we hope to continue to build upon the past success of the organization.Read More
As a national organization, we have been working with children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability for over forty years. Within this time, it has grown well beyond being an event to become a year-round movement with chapters in almost every province and territory.Read More
As an organization dependent on the work of so many wonderful volunteers, it is the support of our partners that allows our team to accomplish so much. Through their involvement, we can offer programs and services to thousands who may not have access to so many of the benefits an active life can offer.Read More
Comprised of a wide variety of backgrounds from across Canada, both those in our national office, as well as our board of directors, share the common goal of improving the lives of those involved with Special Olympics. By overseeing the day to day function, along with the overall future, of the organization, we are a group dedicated to making the lives of others better through sport.Read More