Canada's Olympic athletes arrived in Toronto Wednesday to kick off a two-day trip to Toronto fresh from a visit to the floor of the House of Commons in Ottawa.
In Toronto they will tour local schools and visit Queen's Park before walking through the city's streets in a massive downtown parade set for Friday.
But for Brian Price, Thursday will give him a chance to reflect on a painful period of his childhood, but one that helped propel him to become a medal-winning coxswain for Canada’s men’s eight rowers.
Price was diagnosed with leukemia when he was seven and for years, he made the trip for often painful treatments at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
“That's how I used to travel from Belleville to Toronto with my mom, once a week, once every two weeks," he told CBC News on Wednesday. “Everything that you do, everything you think is normal gets changed — and you know, your focus becomes something totally different. Which, for a seven-year-old, you shouldn't be thinking 'am I going to live or die?'”
Price not only survived, he went on to do great things. He helped guide Canada’s rowers to a silver medal in London and gold in Beijing in 2008.
When he visits Sick Kids on Thursday, he will encourage patients to follow their dreams.
Now a dad himself, Price also has a message for their parents.
“For the parents it's really being able to instill hope that the fight is worth it — that there is a light at the end of the tunnel — although it may be a bit dark right now, keep fighting and stay positive. It is worth it.”
Rosie MacLennan, who won gold in London in trampoline, was among the athletes to arrive at Union Station on Wednesday. She said the trip to Toronto is a chance for her to meet the people who were cheering her on from home.
"It's been amazing,” she told CBC News. “It's been a great opportunity to share the medal and share the experiences with the people who are supporting you the whole way through. You're seeing that you had more support than you realize."