Reporting From Toronto, Canada – The City of Toronto will be considering a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, according to documents recently filed with the city.
Councillor James Pasternak has forwarded a motion to investigate the opportunity to host the Games after Durban, South Africa was stripped of its rights earlier this month when the city missed deadlines and payments set by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). The CGF announced it was looking for a replacement host but has yet to announce any process or timelines.
According to a document filed, Toronto City Council is set to discuss the motion in Chambers Tuesday, March 28 and will then vote on whether to “request the City Manager in conjunction with the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture, to investigate the potential opportunity for the City of Toronto to enter the bidding process for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and report back to Council on the process and timeline if Council were to choose to proceed with supporting a bid.”
A two-thirds majority vote is required to waive the referral.
Pasternak was vocal during a push for Toronto to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, an opportunity that Mayor John Tory ultimately rejected only hours before the application deadline with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Tory said at the time that the city wasn’t adequately prepared to commit to a bid, but that other opportunities in the future would be considered.
In order to control costs and align an Olympic bid with the IOC’s Agenda 2020 reforms, Pasternak at the time proposed a joint bid with Buffalo in New York State but understood that the existing bid from Los Angeles would prevent that opportunity.
The document filed further sets out “Toronto is ready to host this competition after successfully hosting the Pan American/ Parapan American Games in 2015. It is highly likely that no new venues would need to be built for the games which would great (sic) reduce any financial risk to the City.”
But the requirements of the Commonwealth Games differ from those of the Pan Am Games and additional venues would likely be required, including upgrades that would be needed to the York Lions Stadium at York University that was largely a temporary facility during the Pan Am Games. Additionally, athletes’ accommodations would have to be considered since those provided for the Pan Am Games were subsequently sold.
Organizing the Games for Toronto 2022 would have to take place within a compressed timeline of less than five years instead of the usual seven years.
Canadian city Edmonton previously bid for the same 2022 Games against Durban but was forced to withdraw from the competition when failing oil prices impacted the city’s budget. Durban was later awarded the Games unopposed.
Edmonton has since considered re-entering the race along with several international cities including Britain’s Liverpool and Birmingham that had already been developing plans for a 2026 Games bid as well as London and Manchester.
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and New Delhi in India have also discussed a run at the Games.
From Australia interest has been expressed by Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide – though with Gold Coast hosting the 2018 edition of the Games, Australia’s Commonwealth Games Association says it doubts it will approve any plans to go forward.
Commonwealth Games Canada would need to back any bid from either Toronto or Edmonton in order for it to move forward.
Canada last hosted the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994, Toronto has never hosted.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.