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.”
Here’s a look at the venues and the sporting events announced Friday.
University of Toronto (Scarborough)
The complex on University of Toronto's Scarborough campus will be home to indoor water sports as well as fencing and pentathlon. The city plans to construct a dive tank, 50-metre competition and training pools, and a field house. After the games it will be the new home of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. Events to be held there include:
– indoor swimming
– synchronized swimming
– modern pentathlon
University of Toronto (Downtown)
A variety of sports will be held at the new Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport on University of Toronto's downtown campus. Events to be held there include:
– field hockey
– artistic roller sports
Toronto Pan Am Park at Exhibition Place will be the Games’ largest cluster, hosting more than a dozen sports. Events to be held there include:
– open water swimming
– road cycling
– rugby sevens
– beach and indoor volleyball
– speed roller sports
– water skiing and wakeboarding
The York University Pan Am Complex is home to the athletics stadium. Events to be held there include:
– athletics (track and field)
Mississauga’s Hershey Centre will host martial arts and wrestling. Events to be held there include:
The Etobicoke Pan Am Complex will be located at Centennial Park. Etobicoke will also be home to the new Olympium training centre for swimmers. Events to be held there include:
– BMX cycling
The Markham Pan Am Complex will be a 142,000-sq.ft. facility with an Olympic 50-metre pool and field house near Markville Mall. Events to be held there include:
– water polo
– table tennis (at Markham Centennial Centre)
A new $150-million stadium will be built on the site of the existing Ivor Wynne Stadium to host all soccer matches, including the finals. Work on the stadium will begin this year after the end of the CFL season.
Track-cycling will be hosted in Milton after the construction of a four-season 250-metre cycling velodrome.
Basketball will be held in Ryerson University’s new athletics centre, built in the former Maple Leaf Gardens building at College and Church Streets.
The venues for softball, baseball, golf and shooting have not yet been decided. A number of standalone events will be held outside the clusters, including:
Toronto Island – sailing
Oshawa – boxing
Minden Hills – canoe/kayak slalom
Welland – canoe/kayak sprint
Oro-Medonte – mountain cycling
Caledon and Orangeville – equestrian
St. Catharines – rowing
With a report from Jeff Fraser