On December 12, 2017, representatives of organizations of Russian compatriots in Canada welcomed a group of Para- athletes from Moscow, Russia to participate in a discussion “Russia and Russians in Canada : barrier-free environment”.
The para- athletes came to share their experience with Canadian sports paralympic organizations. In particular, they held several amateur competitions with Canadian athletes at the Ability Center of the Variety Village that helps people with a disability develop a healthy lifestyle through sports, fitness and physical activity and where Canadian Paralympic teams are trained.
The visit of Russian para- athletes to Toronto was organized by the Rehabilitation Center “Preodolenie” of the Government of Moscow. The center helps people with disabilities to rehabilitate from sports injuries as well as restore their health and overcome disability related ailments.
The group of para-athletes was accompanied by Yulia Ivanova, Deputy Director of RC “Preodolenie” and Mark Lodi, President of “Nezavisimost” charity foundation in support of people with disabilities.
James Pasternak,City Counsellor for York Center and Kirill Mikhailov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Toronto addressed the guests and compatriots with welcoming speeches.
Social adaptation of wheelchair users in Moscow and Toronto, as well as transport accessibility in these cities were the topics discussed at the round table. President of the Russian para-karate paralympic team Sergei Semakin advised on participation of para-athletes in international competitions
Russian Congress of Canada took direct part in organizing the reception of Russian guests. Zinaida Volodina, governing member of the Russian Congress of Canada, told the participants about overcoming the barriers and ways to find conditions for the development of friendly relations between organizations of compatriots of Canada and Russia.
The meeting ended up with informal communication between the guests from Russia and their compatriots in Canada. We exchanged impressions about the barrier-free environment in Toronto, about meeting with Canadians and expressed desire to have future events.
At the end of the round table, Yulia Ivanova, deputy director of “Preodolenie”, said: “This meeting was so positive, rich and useful for both sides that we will remember it forever, and I convey the words of great gratitude to all Russian compatriots for the warm and unforgettable reception “.
Based on the materials provided by Irina Minkovskaya and Zinaida Volodina
Photo by Marina Novinskaya and Alexander Khalin