Torontonians will find out next Friday where the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games events will be held, according to Ian Troop, CEO of the TO2015 organizing committee.
A venue map will reveal the plan for the participating municipalities and zones of Southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, he told the Globe and Mail at a news conference about the athletes’ village Friday.
TO2015’s decision to arrange venues in eight clusters instead of spreading out the venue footprint among 50 possible stand-alone sites will allow for multiple sports at each venue, improve transportation and security for the Games, manage costs and maximize the Games’ experience, officials contend.
The Toronto 2015 Pan Am organizing committee and a lead corporate sponsor Friday announced the official name of the Athletes’ Village: “CIBC Pan and Parapan Am Games Athletes’ Village.”
The village site is located near Toronto’s waterfront, in the West Don Lands community, and after the Games it will become a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly community.
World-renowned Canadian sprinter and sprint/relay coach Molly Killingbeck said of the village: “It’s about the legacy, what will be left behind ... for all Ontarians and all Torontonians and all Canadians. So I think it’s lasting.”
The long-awaited announcement of successful bidders for the pool facility at the University of Toronto and track and field stadium at York University is also coming up.
“We’re within weeks of that being decided,” said Mr. Troop. The aquatic centre is at or below budget, he said. “We’re looking forward to naming that winning proponent and starting construction in July, so it’s moving along very nicely.”
The decision will be made by a group of people, including Infrastructure Ontario, TO2015, U of T and the city of Toronto, who come together to evaluate the bids, he said.
“It’s a very disciplined process,” said Mr. Troop, “Which is good.”
The host municipality for the Games’ baseball venue will be decided early this summer. “It’s one of those sports where we have more work to do,” Mr. Troop said. “We’ll be fine to have that ready to go for test events in 2014, so we don’t feel that we’re under any pressure.”
Games organizers have come under fire for being slow to announce the Games’ venues and facilities.
“There’s always people that will criticize us until they jump on the bandwagon, so, you know, we’re doing what we think is an appropriate timing. There’s lots of moving pieces. We’ve got two major stakeholders with the feds and the province, we’ve been through approving our budgets, we’ve got all these municipalities to make sure that we treat honourably and work with them, so it’s taken a while to get to what we think is a very exciting plan,” he said.
In support of the Games, CIBC also announced Friday its commitment to contribute $1.2-million to a special Scholarship Athlete Award for students. Over the past 14 years, the Youthvision Scholarship program has helped 420 underprivileged youth achieve dreams to complete post-secondary education.