Toronto to host 2015 Pan Am Games

It's mission accomplished for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Mayor David Miller and all other members of the delegation supporting Toronto's bid to host the 2015 Pan Am Games.

It's mission accomplished for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Mayor David Miller and all other members of the delegation supporting Toronto's bid to host the 2015 Pan Am Games.

On the first ballot of Friday's vote in Guadalajara, Mexico, Toronto was tapped as the host city.

"Our commitment, our pledge, our undertaking, our promise is to provide you with the best Pan Am Games ever," McGuinty told delegates after the results were announced. "It's an exciting time for so many of us here."

Miller also took the podium to express his gratitude for the first-ballot win.

"I would like to say thanks for all of the confidence shown in Toronto," Miller said. "See you all in 2015."

Bid adviser Bob Richardson said before the vote that he was confident his team did all it could to sell the region to Pan American Sports Organization voters.

It seems they did just that, beating out the two other bidding cities — Lima, Peru, and Bogota, Colombia.

Facts and figures

The cost:

$1.4 billion, plus $1 billion for athletes' village

The contributors:

Federal government $500 million

Ontario government $500 million


$170-million aquatic and sports training centre at U of T

$150-million stadium in Hamilton 

Four new Olympic-sized pools 

In the final presentation held shortly before the vote, Miller asked that Toronto be given "the privilege" of hosting the Games, and said "it is Toronto's time."

McGuinty said Toronto would be proud to host the Games and that Pan Am officials would be proud of the job the city would do. "We are ready and we will deliver," McGuinty said.

It's welcome news for up-and-coming Canadian swimming star Amanda Reason.

"Myself, I've never competed internationally at home, so having home-field advantage is going to be fun if I make it," Reason told CBC News.

The 16-year-old owns the world record in the 50-metre breaststroke.

Chris Rudge, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said bringing the Pan Am Games to Toronto will benefit summer athletes much the same as winter athletes have reaped the rewards of the 1988 Calgary Games and 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

"Aside from the sport legacy that will drive us into the future, our goal is for Canada's summer athletes to continue the pattern of rising success at major competitions," Rudge said in a release. "This will be a Pan Am Games to watch."

"It's a stepping stone," said Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. "If you get this and prove yourself worthy … that would make it look good for getting a bid for future Olympics or even world championships."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also sent his thanks and congratulations to the winning bid team, calling it "an exciting day for all Canadians."

"Canadians love sports and we are known for our hospitality, an unbeatable combination for successful Games," Harper said in a statement.

"Sports fans in Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe area are known for their passion and commitment.  I am confident they will give a warm welcome to athletes from across the Americas."

Winning bid still faces opposition

Not everyone will be happy that the Games are heading to the Golden Horseshoe. The bid was opposed by groups that believe the $1.4-billion operating budget (plus another $1 billion for the athletes' village) is a large underestimation of what the final price tag will be for hosting the event.

The federal and provincial governments are expected to each contribute 35 per cent of the total, or some $500 million each. Municipalities and private investors are on the hook for the remaining $428.5 million.

In all, more than 50 venues and six new facilities are planned for the region, including $170 million for another aquatic and sports training centre at University of Toronto, a $150-million stadium in Hamilton and four new Olympic-sized pools. 

The CBC's Tom Harrington said the winning bid will strengthen the support system for many amateur athletes.

"Toronto lacks the facilities amateur sport needs, and the infrastructure will help them a great deal," Harrington said.

Toronto's port lands will be a focal point of the event, and the housing and facilities constructed for athletes in that area are pledged to become mixed-use homes upon the completion of the Games.

With files from The Canadian Press