Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games

The Pan Am Games dates are 10-26 July, 2015, while the Parapan Am Games are 7-14 August – just two years away.

Close to 7,000 athletes will compete in 36 Pan Am sports and 15 Parapan Am sports in the summer of 2015. Host Canada will field some 1,100 athletes, coaches and technicians.

The 2015 Pan American Games will become the first completely ecologically friendly games, because it will be fully carbon neutral. The Games will also be the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in Canada, double the size of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

In January 2012, the organising committee announced that 60% of the 51 originally proposed venues would be dropped, in favour of a clustering system seen at other multi-sport events such as the London 2012 Summer Olympics. There will be 7 venue clusters. Fifteen venues have been designated as stand-alone by the organisers

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Rogers Centre. Some of the competition venues in the Toronto area included National Soccer Stadium, the Pan American Field Hockey Centre the Toronto Sports Centre and the Pan American Aquatics Centre and Field House.

The project is being developed by Dundee Kilmer with design by a wide range of architectural firms, including architectsAlliance, KPMB, MJMA, Daoust Lestage and TEN Arquitectos. Dundee Kilmer, a joint venture of Dundee Realty Corporation and Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Limited, are the developers who won the right to design, build, and finance the construction of the site. They have a fixed-price contract valued at C$514 million with the Province of Ontario after winning a competitive procurement bid.


Athletes’ Village: The provincial government is independently funding the $1 billion athletes’ village, which will be converted after the Games into the Canary District, a mixed used waterfront community including market and affordable housing, student housing for George Brown College, and a new YMCA community centre; as well as a costly Air Rail Link.

As part of the Waterfront Toronto West Don Lands Precinct Plan, the Village will become a mixed-use neighbourhood that offers housing to individuals at a variety income levels after the 2015 Pan Am Games are over in August of that year and house George Brown College's first ever Student Residence. Unlike many international athletic games projects, which are purpose-built and then converted to other uses, the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Athletes’ Village accelerates the build-out of a key site in the redevelopment of Toronto’s West Don Lands. Originally planned for completion in three phases over 12 years, the new 14.3-hectare downtown neighbourhood will be designed and built in less than three years. This new community, part of a broader development initiative for the city’s waterfront, is being undertaken by Infrastructure Ontario and Waterfront Toronto using a Design-Build-Finance procurement process.


Aquatic centre: The Province has announced the winning bid for construction of the aquatics centre and field house, a sports facility touted as a centrepiece of the event. PCL Aquatics Centre 2012 has signed a contract to design, build and finance the aquatics centre and field house to be built on a former landfill next to the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus at a contract price of $158.8-million. The team consists of developer and contractor PCL Constructors Canada and designer NORR Ltd. PCL was one of three companies shortlisted last June to lead the project, one of five new sporting venues under construction for when Toronto welcomes 10,000 athletes from 41 countries to the Games. The 300,000 square-foot complex will play host to swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, and fencing events, as well as part of the pentathlon. Plans for the venue include an aquatics centre with two Olympic-sized pools and a dive tank, as well as a field house containing three gymnasiums, a 200-metre indoor running track, racquet courts and a fitness centre.

The cost of the project is being split between the University of Toronto, the City of Toronto and the federal government. In 2010, University of Toronto Scarborough students voted to chip in $30-million toward the facility as part of a 25-year financial levy. The centre, which will be jointly owned by the university and the city, will become home to the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario after the Games and will house recreation space for University of Toronto students and area residents.


There have been the oft-seen challenges and criticisms such as commentary about Liberal ties to the TO2015 organising committee, expensive infrastructure projects not included in the Games’ budget, transparency and accountability concerns. “We’ve noticed that they keep saying that they’re on time and on budget, but there’s massive between Pearson airport and Union Station …projects, like the athletes’ village . . . that are not within the Pan Am budget,” according to one Progressive Conservative.  “(Projects) that would not have been done if the Pan Ams weren’t coming to Toronto and I think there should be some ministerial accountability. Someone has to put their hand up and say ‘the buck stops here.’”

This refers to the budget for the 2015 Games which has been pegged around C$1.4 billion, but the true cost is suggested by some at more like C$2.5 billion. In 2011, Toronto’s contribution to the Games nearly doubled to C$96.5 million when the city’s executive committee voted to spend an additional C$47 million to cover inflation, capital costs, and upgrades to existing facilities. About C$23 million, almost half of the increase, was designated to remediate the soil of the former dump site where the new sports complex will be built.

The games are centred on Toronto but St. Catharines will host rowing. The benefits are being spread around…for example Welland, The Rose City, seems to be getting a great deal. The city is getting a 975.5-square-metre athlete’s building, a 325-square-metre four-storey timing tower, a huge outdoor plaza area, improvements along the waterway, a 12-by-8-metre LED video screen, permanent seating for 500 spectators and other significant amenities — all for only $10 million, most of which is being paid for by upper-tier governments.

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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