McIntosh’s next challenge: Toronto’s Pan Am Games

L to R: Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Henry Storgaard, Minister of State Gary Lunn, Canadian Paralympic Committee President Carla Qualtrough, and Blair McIntosh. Courtesy of Government of Canada. (McIntosh-1)

Blair McIntosh has been involved in more than 100 major multi-sport and single sport events over the last 28 years – and he’s not done.

McIntosh is fueled by challenges.

The Chef de Mission for the Canadian team at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, McIntosh recently accepted a new challenge: Director of Sport for the Toronto 2015 Pan and ParaPan American Games.

“I accepted the position because it is an opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise to the event,” said McIntosh, in an interview with the Toronto Observer.

“To be a part of a team that will deliver an event that will be first class, and leave a lasting legacy in terms of infrastructure and a strong amateur sport system is very rewarding.”

He joined the lineup of 50 full-time employees on Sept. 19, coming from the Sport Alliance of Ontario where he was the Director of Games for the past six years.

McIntosh began his career as director of multi-sport games in the sport unit of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, a place he remained with for 23 years before joining the city of London as Director of Sport Tourism for two years.

His outstanding list of accomplishments also includes Chef de Mission for Team Ontario at seven Canada Games.

Part of McIntosh’s duties at Toronto 2015 Pan and ParaPan Games range from test events to liaison with different levels of sport organizations.

“I will be responsible for sport competitions, test events, all para-sport competitions and planning, medical and anti-doping, liaison with provincial, national and international sport Federations as well as key partners such as the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee on matters related to sport,” he said.

Arrival in controversy

McIntosh’s hiring announcement was made in a controversial atmosphere. The Toronto Star’s Dave Perkins wrote a critical front-page column the following day about the lack of organization and expertise among senior management.

This motivated Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak to write an open letter to Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty, sharing his worries about the event being a mess and wasting money.

However, McIntosh, with his legendary calm nature,  wasn’t affected by this and believes the planning and organization are on track.

“Although I have only been in the position for a week, I have followed the progress of the organization since its inception, and the team is doing an amazing job at organizing the Games while ensuring they happen on scope and within the budget established,” he said.

Toronto 2015’s CEO Ian Troop is in full support of his new director of sport.

“We have been moving full steam ahead. We have made significant progress on our five major builds, and the Athletes Village and created strong relationships with our government partners and stakeholders,” Troop told the Toronto Observer.

The total Games budget is $1.4 billion, with $700 million destined to upgrade existing infrastructures and build new sport venues.

Toronto 2015 will contribute 56 per cent of the total cost through its government partners while municipalities will provide the remaining 44 per cent.

“The venues will be world class and athletes will be thrilled to compete on these first class facilities,” McIntosh said.

“The team is very athlete centered and I have no doubt when the Games take place in 2015 that all of Canada will feel the pride that comes with hosting a very successful major multi-sport Games.”

McIntosh has no time for controversy. He has some 325 events and more than 10,000 athletes to work for.

And he’s up to the challenge.