Canada competes in its first Paralympic Games in Tel Aviv, Israel. Twenty-two Canadian wheelchair athletes compete against 750 athletes from 29 countries. Canada's participation is largely made possible through the efforts of Toronto Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Robert Jackson, who later becomes the first President of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association and the founder of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
As a result of the efforts of Dr. Robert Jackson, Toronto hosts the Torontolympiad, which later becomes known as the 5th Paralympic Games. These games are the first to include athletes with an amputation or visual impairment. Following these Games, the Canadian government grants funds to be spent in developing sport opportunities for people with a disability.
The Canadian Federation of Sport Organizations for the Disabled (CFSOD) is established and comprised of four national sport organizations: the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing, the Canadian Amputee Sports Association, the Canadian Blind Sports Association, and the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association. The mandate of the Federation is to coordinate activities common to member organizations for the promotion, rule integration, coaching, and administration of sports and competition involving athletes of more than one disability group.
The growth of the Paralympic Games into an important international multi-sport event leads to the formation of the International Co-ordination Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC). The ICC recognizes CFSOD as the organization in Canada responsible for Paralympic sport.
1985 - 1990
CFSOD plays a major role in international Games for athletes with a disability throughout the 1980s, including sending a Canadian team to the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Paralympic Games. In 1987, CFSOD begins coordinating multi-sport competitions for athletes with a disability in Canada. The first Games are held in Brantford, Ontario and generate a financial legacy that significantly boosts the development of sport for athletes with a disability.
Canada competes in the 1988 Paralympic Games, finishing 4th overall with 149 medals. Held in Seoul, South Korea, they are the first Paralympic Games held concurrently with the Olympic Games.
Canadian Federation of Sport Organizations for the Disabled changes its name to the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), and, for the first time, athletes with a disability are included in the Canada Games held in Kamloops, BC.
Having grown to include a membership of 22 national sport organizations, the CPC adopts a mandate to become a "Movement" based organization in order to act on behalf of all athletes with a disability by offering a series of programs in addition to supporting Games.
The CPC sends a Canadian team to the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, USA, with a best winter finish ever of 6th overall with 15 medals. The CPC creates the Canadian Paralympic Foundation (CPF), a separate entity governed by an independent Board of Directors. Senator Joyce Fairbairn is chosen as the Chair of the CPF Board of Directors.
Vancouver is chosen to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is created. This is the first time a host Organizing Committee includes "Paralympic" in its official name.
The CPC sends a Canadian team to the 2004 Paralympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece, resulting in Canada's best-ever finish of 3rd overall with 72 medals. The CPC signs a trademark agreement with VANOC.
The CPC unveils a new logo. The CPC Board of Directors approves the 2006-2011 Business Plan that will lead the organization up to and beyond the Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.
The CPC sends a Canadian Team to the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, resulting in a best-ever winter finish of 6th overall with 13 medals.
At the 2007 Parapan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Canada finished with a total of 112 medals: 49 gold, 37 silver and 26 bronze. The result placed Canada second in the country standings behind host Brazil. Canadian flagbearers in Rio were Jen Krempien (Wheelchair Basketball), for the Opening Ceremony and Benoit Huot (Swimming) - for the Closing Ceremony. Krempien led her team in earning a qualification slot for Beijing 2008, while Huot swam his way to three gold and four silver medals. In the process, he broke the world record in the 200m individual medley and the Parapanamerican Games record in the 100m backstroke.
Canada finishes in 7th place at the Beijing Paralympic Games with 50 medals (19 gold, 10 silver and 21 bronze). Canadian women win 31 medals, including 14 gold.
On home soil, Canada enjoyed its most successful Paralympic Winter Games in history. The Canadian team achieved its goal of being ranked among the Top 3 medal-winning nations. Canada earned 10 gold medals and finished with 19 medals overall. Amongst the best performances, para-nordic star Brian McKeever and guide/brother, Robin, won 3 gold medals during the Games. McKeever was the first person in the world to qualify for both the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year. Lauren Woolstencroft (Alpine skiing - Standing) became the first Canadian Paralympic winter athlete to win five gold medals in the same Games and Viviane Forest (Alpine skiing - Visually Impaired) and guide Lindsay Debou also earned five medals in Whistler.
The Canadian team enjoyed great success at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, winning 63 medals, including 13 gold, 22 silver and 28 bronze. Team Canada's opening ceremony flag bearer was Dave Durepos (Fredericton, NB) of the men's wheelchair basketball squad. Cyclists Robbi Weldon (Thunder Bay, ON) and pilot Lyne Bessette (Knowlton, QC) were Canada's flag bearers for the closing ceremony. The dominant duo won gold in all four races for women's tandem cycling.
Team Canada competed in 15 sports at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, coming home with 31 medals in total: seven gold, 15 silver and nine bronze. Canada placed 20th in the gold medal count and 13th in the overall medal count.
Among the many performance highlights were swimmer Summer Mortimer with four medals (two gold in world record time, one silver and one bronze); swimmer Benoît Huot with three medals (a gold in world record time, a silver and a bronze); the men's wheelchair basketball team going undefeated and winning gold; wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell, winning gold and silver medals; swimmer Valérie Grand'Maison, who raced to one gold (and a world record) and two silver medals; the women's cycling tandem of Robbi Weldon and Lyne Bessette, who won gold in the road race; a silver by the wheelchair rugby team; boccia bronze by Marco Dispaltro and Josh Vander Vies, Canada's first ever in the BC4 class; and archery bronze by Norbert Murphy, Canada's first Paralympic medal in archery since 1984.
Team Canada's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony was wheelchair rugby veteran Garett Hickling, who went on to lead his team to a silver medal performance in London. Canada's Closing Ceremony flag bearer was swimmer Benoît Huot, whose three-medal performance in London brought his career Paralympic medals total to 19.