can para
Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / CPC
OTTAWA, Nov. 27, 2015 – The Canadian Paralympic community celebrated seven accomplished and influential individuals this evening at a gala in Ottawa, for the official induction ceremony for the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame.


Honored tonight were the seven inductees for 2015:
–        Athletes: wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal, Que., para-alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft of Banff, Alta. and wheelchair basketball player Marni Abbott-Peter of Vancouver, B.C.
–        Coach: the late Wilf Strom of Winnipeg, Man.
        Builders: Audrey Strom of Winnipeg, Man., Donald Royer of Sherbrooke, Que. and the late Gary McPherson of Edmonton, Alta.
“It’s been so great to have everyone here tonight, there’s so much history and people who have done so much for the movement,” said Gaéan Tardif, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “This has been a fantastic evening.”
Biographies and photos of Hall of Fame inductees are available at:
I’m truly honoured to stand next to Marni and Chantal in the athlete category. I know the six-year-old me would have thought it was pretty cool to have an all-girl trio inducted in to the athlete category. It was very rewarding for me to have the success, but equally rewarding to be part of the growth of the Paralympic movement in Canada. It is very humbling to know that my success played a small role it the growth and it’s very exciting for me to see today’s athletes successes continue to build parasport across Canada.
–        Lauren Woolstencroft, inducted in the athlete category
I see this as a huge honour and I’m very proud. It’s a bit like Christmas coming early.
Many people noticed I spent a lot of time supporting athletes, travelling with them, coaching them. People asked whether it wasn’t too demanding. I said No, it’s my passion. I always wanted my life to revolve around sport and excellence. I was able to live that. I’m a very happy man. I received much more than I gave. I feel like a very blessed person.
–        Donald Royer, inducted in the builder category
Seeing the crowd here tonight brings back so many happy memories. On behalf of my family, my kids who are at home today and Gary’s family, we’d like to thank you for remembering Gary, as well as honoring him in this way.
–        Valerie McPherson, wife of Gary McPherson, inducted in the builder category
It’s awesome for me to be able to thank my family publicly. My mom has been my number one fan for so many years and we’re always joking around. She almost got kicked out of China for carrying her metal cowbell through security. She’s been amazing, and my whole family has. For every family event we miss because of our sport, they understand and give us the unconditional love and support that every athlete needs.
–        Marni Abbott-Peter, inducted in the athlete category
It is a great honour and I know if Wilf were here with me tonight, he would be every bit as thrilled. I know he’s here in spirit. It’s especially a great honour for both of us to join this elite group of people together. We worked to allow the swimmers with vision challenges to maximize their ability in the pool and be competitive. Prior to that that it was a difficult situation, but Wilf got going on the tapper. Tapping is a science. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy. You have to see their stroke.
–        Audrey Strom, inducted in the builder category. Her late husband, Wilf Strom, was inducted in the coach category.
I’d like to dedicate this amazing trophy to the coaches of my life. Coaches are a game-changer for athletes and a life-changer for most of us. My first coach, Gaston Jacques, got me in the pool and in shape after my accident. Pierre Pomeleau took me under his wing when I had very big dreams and very little muscles, and still believed in me. And Peter Eriksson coached me through five Paralympic Games. Thank you to all the coaches, they make a huge difference.
–        Chantal Petitclerc, inducted in the athlete category