Ten days before the start of Rio 2016, Rugby Canada women’s team had a remarkable sendoff on Tuesday, at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto.

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The celebration was attended by hundreds of fans, who had the opportunity to get autographs, take pictures and show all their support for the first-ever Canadian Olympic women’s rugby sevens team.

The players were impressed by a large gathering of fans from multiples generations at the event, who got rugby balls, posters and jerseys autographed by the Rio 2016 Olympic hopefuls.

“There was a ton of family and a ton of fans that have picked up on rugby and that’s super cool and kind of what we’ve wanted over the last couple years,” Canada’s top scorer Ghislaine Landry told Rugby Canada. “So, it’s pretty special to see that play out in real time,” 

Rio 2016 Rugby Team for Canada after the send-off at Nathan Phillips Square on July 26, 2016. (Tavia Bakowski/COC)

Rio 2016 Rugby Team for Canada after the send-off at Nathan Phillips Square on July 26, 2016. (Tavia Bakowski/COC)

The Olympic women’s competition will take place at Deodoro Stadium, from August 6 to 8. Canada will make its debut against Japan, followed by the hosts Brazil and the Great Britain, in the group stage.

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Rio 2016 will mark the return of rugby to the Olympic Games, which was last under the rings in 1924 in the traditional 15-aside version of the sport.