If the unveiling of the official logo for Toronto’s 2015 Pan American Games is an indication of what to expect, the event will be a monumental experience.
Hundreds of spectators participated in a street party held at Maple Leaf Square to celebrate the official launch of the Pan Am Games on Sept. 29.
The event is expected to draw more than 10,000 athletes and officials from 42 countries competing in 17 municipalities from Welland to Oshawa, who will host 48 sports and events at more than 50 venues.
Due to the number of facilities, the Games will be twice as large as the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and the biggest sporting event ever held in Canada. The only multi-sporting event greater is the Summer Olympics.
Held every four years, the Pan Am Games, which began in 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, have only been held in Canada twice before — both times in Winnipeg (1967 and 1999).
Promoting the city and country
After the success of the Vancouver Olympics, there has been a new sense of pride bestowed upon Canadians, and the 2015 Games are another opportunity to represent the nation in a positive light.
“Hosting international sport events like this brings significant benefits, not just to the region, but to the country as a whole,” said Gary Lunn, federal Minister of State and Sport to torontosun.com.
The Pan Am Games will be the first major international multi-sporting event in Canada’s largest city in 80 years, when Toronto hosted the Commonwealth Games.
“Preparations for 2015 come at a time when Canada is more engaged than ever with our hemispheric neighbours,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a video message. “It will be a world-class experience for everyone involved, a summer to be remembered.”
Learn by example
In light of the trouble plaguing the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, organizers see the effects of being behind schedule in preparation for a large scale sporting event and hope to avoid those same mistakes.
To assure the Games get off on the right foot, organizers have imposed tight deadlines to certain venues – most notably in Hamilton.
Currently, the city of Hamilton and the CFL’s Tiger-Cats have been attempting to agree on a mutual site of the new stadium, a facility the Pan Am committee insists on being completed for 2015.
With organizers pushing for an agreement to be struck immediately, they have given both the city and the team until Oct. 12 to agree on the new stadium’s location.
Another issue the event faces is the difficulty moving all the athletes and spectators around on gridlocked highways in a timely manner. Organizers will meet with transportation officials regarding the concerns in the coming months.
However, the committee expects the Games to run without any problems.
“Sport brings people together, sport overcomes differences, sport builds communities,” said Ian Troop, CEO of the Toronto 2015 organizing committee to the Toronto Star.