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Olympians to be honoured at Toronto parade, gala

Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes are in Toronto to meet fans and take part in a parade and gala dinner where they will be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.

Medallists Rosie MacLennan, Benoit Huot and Adam van Koeverden are among the athletes taking part in the tour, which kicked off with a breakfast with children and youth at Ryerson’s new Mattamy Athletic Centre downtown.

The Olympians then fanned out across the GTA to visit schools and hospitals, including the Hospital for Sick Children alongside Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Brian Price, a cancer survivor and Olympic gold medallist, spoke with a young boy who is undergoing treatment for leukemia.

“Do you find it hard? I found it hard,” Price said, to nods from eight-year-old Robbie.

“When I was little, I was scared too.”

Also on the agenda were a reception with Lt.-Gov. David Onley, an event at the Ronald McDonald House Toronto where athletes served the families there dinner, and a gala and ceremony at the Rosewater restaurant.

The best chance for people to meet the Olympians, however, is on Friday at the Olympic Heroes Parade, which will start at Nathan Phillips Square and end at Maple Leaf Square.

The event will feature bands, traditional London cabs and an old-school double-decker bus.

Trampolinist MacLennan won Canada’s only gold medal at the Games, while kayaker van Koeverden won a hard-fought silver. Benoit Huot opened the Paralympic Games with a gold medal for Canada and world record in the pool.

At a ceremony in the Senate chamber on Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes medals marking Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

With files from The Canadian Press