03/03/2015 08:52 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT

Pan Am Games medals unveiled in Toronto

The competition medals for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games were unveiled Monday during an event at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum.

"These Toronto 2015 medals are pieces of art in their own right, and reflect all the hard work, dedication and the difficult journey athletes will take to wear one around their neck and cherish for life," said Olympic swimming gold medallist Mark Tewksbury, who hosted the ceremony.

Materials for the medals are being supplied by Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation, which sourced them from three different mines located in the Americas —​ copper from Chile, silver from the Dominican Republic and gold from Ontario.

The Royal Canadian Mint will craft the medals, which for the first time in Pan Am and Parapan Am Games history will include Braille.

The organizing committee said the artwork on the medals "highlights Aboriginal traditions of welcoming guests and cherishing the beauty of the natural world" and was developed with the input of Christi Belcourt, a Métis visual artist.

About 6,600 athletes from 41 countries will compete in 36 Pan Am sports — including 28 Olympic sports — plus 15 Parapan Am sports. A total of 4,283 medals will be awarded in 825 medal events.

Canada is fielding its largest-ever Pan Am Games team of 700 athletes, and has set a goal of finishing second in the medals — behind perennial champion U.S. — with 160.

The Pan Ams will run July 10-26, while the Parapan Am Games are Aug. 7-14.