Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, plan to spend Valentine's Day in Whistler, B.C., to attend a training camp one year ahead of the 2025 Invictus Games. 

Prince Harry is the founder of the Games for wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans.

The purpose of this week's training camp is to support nations taking part in the Games to build year-round adaptive sports programs.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are scheduled to join the participants during some of the events at the camp today and Thursday in Whistler and on Friday in Vancouver.

Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 will host more than 500 competitors from 23 nations and is scheduled to take place Feb. 8 to 16, 2025.

It will be the first Invictus Games to feature winter sports, including alpine skiing, nordic skiing, skeleton and wheelchair curling, but will also host indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball as it has previously. 

Next year's event will mark the seventh Invictus Games, which were created in 2014 by Prince Harry following his deployment in Afghanistan. 

It will be the second time Canada hosts the Invictus Games after Toronto's Games in 2017.

Canadian veteran Mike Bourgeois competed for Team Canada at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands in 2022.

"The road to recovery, for me, was all about mental wellness and physical wellness," Bourgeois told reporters on a bus travelling the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler for the training camp.

Bourgeois, who served as an infantry officer for about 22 years, suffered a spinal cord injury during his initial training with the Armed Forces. But, it went undiagnosed and he completed his service with a broken spine, which led to severe degradation of his mobility and short-term memory. 

He later suffered a heart attack, which set off his application to compete in the Invictus Games in archery and cycling. He was accepted to compete in 2020, though that was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Truly, it's life changing," he said of the Games.

His wife, Lori Bourgeois, said it has also been healing for his family. 

"We get over to the Netherlands and it was like this world opened up with thousands of people like us who have been through illness and injury," she said. "And that is the power of the Invictus Games."

Mike Bourgeois said he would have loved to compete in the Games again, but Canada typically allows veterans to participate in one games to allow other injured service members an opportunity to experience healing through sport. 

He said that healing journey should not end when the Games end for participants. 

He now works as an ambassador for the Invictus Games and participates in sporting events around the world — including the 2023 Gran Fondo, a 122-kilometre cycling race that takes the same Sea-To-Sky route from Vancouver to Whistler.

"Most veterans who suffer with physical and mental wellness are not connected to support networks," he said. "So, the whole learning journey of the Invictus program is about learning that you're not alone, learning that your families are not alone."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2024.