Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says hosting the Pan and Parapan American Games will be a “huge victory” for taxpayers that will put the city “on the map once and for all.”
Organizers of the sporting event took the wraps off a slimmed down version of their plans for the Games Friday, a money-saving measure that they also say will make it easier for athletes and spectators to get to venues and increase excitement for the Games.
The redrawn map for the Games will see events take place in seven clusters, with most activity centred around Exhibition Place, dubbed “Pan Am Park” by organizers. Events there will include the marathon, the cycling road race, squash, triathlon, rugby and beach volleyball.
Exhibition Place will be “action central,” Ian Troop, CEO of the TO2015 organizing committee said Friday, describing the event as “the biggest thing that has ever happened to this region.”
Other clusters will be in Mississauga, Markham, Etobicoke, York University and the Scarborough and downtown campuses of the University of Toronto. The athletes’ village will be located in the Lower Don Lands.
All soccer matches will be at a rebuilt Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton.
Mr. Ford, a critic of the games before he took office, said he became a “true believer” after visiting last year’s games in Guadalajara, Mexico. “We are going to put the city on the map once and for all,” he said. “I know it is going to be a huge benefit to all the taxpayers in this city.”
Mr. Ford, who has vowed to fight traffic gridlock, said Toronto residents will have to be patient during the weeks of the event.
“Of course people are going to be inconvenienced, but you know what, I think that’s the price of hosting the Games,” he said. “People will understand that.”