Federal Government Supports Southern Ontario 2015 Pan Am Bid

A day before the Beijing Olympic Games, the Canadian government announced it is backing a bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Southern Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe. There are 12 municipalities in the province supporting the bid, including Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, and Niagara.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty will travel to Beijing next week to lobby the Pan American Sports Organization’s voting members, joining all the other Pan Am bid cities – Bogota, Colombia, Caracas, Venezuela and Lima. McGuinty will be in Beijing August 13 to 15 where he will host a reception for the heads of the Pan American National Olympic Committees who will decide the host city of the next Pan Am Games at the Pan American Sports Organization.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who is also the minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), said Thursday more work needs to be done before the government can commit to the requested one-third of the $1.77-billion (about $600 million) it would cost the bid. He said, “we need to work on that $1.77 billion figure to make sure that that will be the actual figure”, adding the costs of security and infrastructure, in particular, need “more due diligence”.

While giving the federal government’s stamp of approval Flaherty said the federal government had done enough work to “say yes responsibly”.

Flaherty said, “it’s very positive. It’s a boost for the entire region. Toronto hasn’t had a major sporting event in many, many years”. Toronto was in second place in its bid for the Olympics which Beijing is now hosting.

Michael Chambers, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, told the Toronto Star in Beijing, “to say I’m really, really, really keen on this is a gross understatement. I really believe we can do this and that it’s not a shot in the dark. It’s a bid we can win. We’ll have tremendous games and it will be a building block for what we’re seeing here in China. He said the Southern Ontario bid will be officially presented to Pan American Sports Organization officials at Canada Olympic House in Beijing on August 14.

The Toronto Star reports that insiders say Toronto – one of the largest media markets in North or South America – has a great shot at hosting the Pan Am Games.

The host city for the 2015 Pan Am Games will be announced next year.