The Pan Am Games this summer came in slightly under the 2009 budget set for the bid, helped by the fact that security costs were much lower than expected.
According to nearly final numbers released on Thursday by the Ontario government, the athletic event held throughout Toronto and surrounding communities cost $2.423-billion.
The overall cost was $6-million below the budget set in 2009. The projected cost fluctuated over the years since that first budget and hit its highest in the spring of last year, at which point the Games were expected to cost $150-million more than the tally released on Thursday.
About half of the savings, compared with the 2015 budget, was in transportation and security spending. The first came in $23-million lower, officials said, because of smooth operations, decent weather and a less-than-expected need for advertising and other messaging. Security rang in $54-million below the 2015 projection of $239-million, in part because of luck.
"If something happened during the Pan Am Games, the cost would've probably exceeded the $239-million," acknowledged Michael Coteau, the provincial minister responsible for the Games. "We'd be having a completely different conversation."
The Opposition countered that the numbers were not firm in the first place, making it unremarkable that the budget was met. "I've always said that there's been a lot of play in this budget," said Steve Clark, the Progressive Conservative critic for tourism, culture and sport. "When you have that level of contingency, I'm not surprised."
The Games took in $175-million, meaning that the net cost of hosting was about $2.25-billion. But Mr. Coteau said they were "absolutely" worth that price tag. "You ask people who are using the facilities, people living in affordable housing, accessible affordable housing at the [athletes'] village, they'll say this was a great initiative," he told reporters.