Hamilton is joining other host communities across Ontario in building excitement for the Pan Am Games, with one-year countdown celebrations planned for this weekend.
The Pan Am Games will run from July 10-26, 2015, with the Parapan Am event August 7-15.
Some 10,000 athletes, coaches and team officials are expected to attend next year, along with a quarter of a million visitors. Events will be held in 32 venues spread across Hamilton, the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara.
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Various construction projects are underway in the host cities, including a $158-million aquatics centre on the University of Toronto campus in Scarborough, Ont., a $56-million cycling velodrome in Milton, Ont., and a new track and field stadium on the campus of Toronto's York University.
Hamilton is building a new stadium that will host the Pan Am Games' soccer matches and the CFL's Tiger-Cats.
Held every four years among countries of the Americas, the Games are an important tuneup for the Olympics in 2016, with several Pan Am events serving as Olympic qualifiers.
Hamilton has two celebration events planned for this weekend at Pier 8:
Light Up the Night
Time: Saturday, July 12, 2014, 8 p.m.
To kick off the one-year countdown celebration, the city is planning a walk, move and video dance party. Five kilometres of trail along the waterfront will be illuminated in Pan Am neon colours. The trail ends at the party stage with a video dance party, featuring state-of-the-art sound and jumbo LED screen with music videos.
The video dance party is free, followed by a Caribbean flair at 10 p.m.
There is also an optional $40 registration fee. Those who choose to register will receive a participation kit that includes LED Rockstar glasses, glow-in-the-dark Pan Am bracelet, shock lime wickable shirt and cinch bag.
You can register here.
World Cup Final Festival
Time: Sunday, July 13, 2014, noon
Sunday's party starts at noon with celebrations of the cultures of Pan Am and World Cup finalists. There will also be cold beer and BBQ featuring foods from these nations.
At 2:45 p.m., watch CBC's live coverage of the World Cup final on jumbo LED screen with state-of-the-art audio.
Make sure you wear your colours, bring flags and cheer on your favourite nation. Everyone wearing soccer apparel will receive free admission.