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Pan Am track moving to Toronto from Hamilton

In her last week as chief executive officer for Athletics Canada, Joanne Mortimer got some news that cheered her immensely.

She learned Thursday that plans to hold the 2015 Pan American Games track and field events in Hamilton were scrapped in favour of Toronto.

All along, Mortimer said, Athletics Canada had indicated its preference to the Pan Am organizing committee for its events to be held in Toronto - with its large population base and the infrastructure legacy it would leave for athletes.

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"Toronto is a better venue for us for a number of reasons," Mortimer said at the Canadian track and field championships at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

Had the facility been built in Hamilton, there would have been no legacy for track and field in the city because, after the event, the track would have been removed and the new stadium would likely have been taken over by the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, she said.

"This is the outcome we wanted to see and we're quite pleased," she said.

Mortimer said Athletics Canada's approach to the athletics site at the Pan Am Games has always been "discreet and behind the scenes."

In February, they continued to let their wishes be known. And then it wrote a position paper, again outlining preferences. "We were proactive in indicating that," she said. "Whether that had an impact or not, I don't know."

Mortimer said she does not know the specific site where the Pan Am athletics events will be held.

Athletics Canada has a vision for a high-performance facility that it would like to see in Toronto, with a 400-metre outdoor track and a 200-metre indoor track.

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"If we can afford to dream, we might as well afford to dream now and dream big," she said. "And go for the stars."

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