Spit and polish key to successful Games, 2015 Pan Am CEO says

If there’s one thing Toronto can learn from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, it’s that winning the bid is only half the battle.

Preparing for and running a multi-sport event — like the 2015 Pan Am Games — is the other.

The games in Delhi have been mired in allegations of unsanitary conditions. Avoiding similar allegations and keeping the city clean will be on the next mayor of Toronto’s agenda ahead of the Pan Am Games, the largest sporting event Toronto will have ever hosted.

“Unlike the Commonwealth Games, you can either build a bad house or a good house,” says Ian Troop, CEO of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. “The [Toronto Pan Am committee] will work with whoever wins the mayoral race to make sure the city remains clean.”

Mayoral front-runner Rob Ford intends to have the city, including Scarborough, ready for the world, says Adrienne Batra, his director of communications. More than just focusing on event facilities, Ford will see that the little things are done to beautify the city, she said.

“Flowers are going to be cut, weeds gone, fresh flowers will be planted, curbs will be cut to the right size and graffiti will be removed,” said Batra. “Bylaws are going to be enforced.

“Not only will there be safe and appropriate buildings and world-class facilities for the event, but we want to facilitate our own world-class athletes with these building, as well.”

Scarborough is set to be a major hub during the 2015 games, which will leave a legacy, Troop said.

“Scarborough’s going to have all the swimming and aquatics,” he said. “It’ll serve the area, serve the students at [the University of Toronto] and provide a home for high-performance sport afterwards.”

David Miller, a judo instructor, says success at Pan Am 2015 could pave the way to a winning Olympic bid.

“We’re financially ready for it,” he said at the Pan Am logo launch party on Sept. 29. “Our infrastructure is ready for it. The corporate sponsors are ready and the political stability leads us to having advantages in an Olympic bid [compared to places such as Delhi].”

Troop agreed.

“This is the fifth biggest metro market in North America and the fourth biggest financial market in North America,” he said. “I would hope that if this event goes well, it would put the city in good standing to go after an Olympic event.”