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Parapan Am Games 2015: 18 Fast (And Cool) Facts

08/07/2015 09:18 EDT | Updated 08/07/2015 09:59 EDT

The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games opened at Toronto's York University Friday night.

The ceremony kicked off what is sure to be a thrilling competition that will see para-athletes go compete in sports such as wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball and powerlifting.

Here are some fast (and cool) facts to know about this year's Parapan Am Games.

This year marks the biggest Canadian contingent ever at the Parapan Am Games.

parapan am games canada

The Canadian delegation consists of 216 athletes. Overall, the national team is going for a top-three spot in the medal standings. Canada finished eighth at the 2011 Parapan Am Games in Mexico.

Canada's flagbearer and boccia athlete Marco Dispaltro considers himself the "Gordie Howe" of wheelchair sports.

marco dispaltro

"For me, it's always a motivating factor that the old guy can still perform, and keep the young wolves at bay," he told The Globe and Mail.

Canada will compete in 14 out of 15 sports.

2011 parapan am games canada

They include wheelchair basketball, para-swimming, seven-a-side football, table tennis and judo.

One of Canada's athletes is also a B.C. cabinet minister.

michelle stilwell

B.C. Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell will make her Parapan Am Games debut, competing in 100- and 800-metre wheelchair racing events.

One of our greatest Paralympians may take his final bow.

benoit huot

Swimmer Benoit Huot has won 19 medals at four different Paralympic Games. This could be one of his last Games.

There's fun to be had besides the sports.

the roots

The Panamania festival will see free concerts in Toronto by artists including Chromeo (Aug. 7), The Roots (Aug. 8), Tanya Tagaq (Aug. 8), Janelle Monae (Aug. 9), Jann Arden (Aug. 11), A Tribe Called Red (Aug. 12.) and more.

Here's to a great games!

parapan am games ceremony

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