Rick Hansen's 25th anniversary relay reaches Toronto

Rick Hansen's 25th anniversary relay tour arrived in Toronto on Saturday.

Rick Hansen's 25th anniversary relay tour arrived in Toronto on Saturday.

It was a quarter century ago that Hansen's Man in Motion tour circled the globe to raise money for spinal cord injury research.

Hansen says that research has made a difference in the lives of many people.

"Now there's 70 per cent chance of some kind of recovery — slight movement of the hand, sensation of leg — and some people are actually walking away today where 25 years ago they would've been in a chair for the rest of their lives," he said.

Hansen hopes the money raised during this relay will help to make an even bigger difference.

The anniversary relay began in Newfoundland on Aug. 24 and is scheduled to end 12,000 kilometres later in Vancouver on May 22, 2012.

In between 7,000 Canadian will carry a specially crafted Rick Hansen medal, passing it from one to the other as they cross the country.

The participants were chosen from entrants who have made a difference in their communities.

They will "run, walk, wheel or bike and complete their segments through a variety of forms of movement for all abilities," said a message on the organization's website.

As the tour entered Toronto on Saturday, hundreds gathered on Eglinton Avenue East to meet Hansen and some of the relay participants.

The relay will follow Hansen's route through the city 25 years ago.

Dozens of roads will be closed as the tour makes it way across the city from noon until 9 p.m.

During most of the day Queen's Park Crescent, University Avenue, Gerrard Street and Church Street will be shut down. 

The days festivities wrap up with a ceremony at Toronto's Yonge and Dundas Square

The 1985 Man in Motion tour raised $26 million for spinal cord research.