Toronto City Council Votes Against Fast-Tracking 2022 Commonwealth Games Bid

Reporting From Toronto, Canada – Toronto’s city council Wednesday voted against fast-tracking discussions about a potential 2022 Commonwealth Games bid and instead referred it for further review to the city’s economic development committee.

Toronto's City Hall during the 2015 Pan Am Games

Toronto’s City Hall during the 2015 Pan Am Games

By a vote of 25-18 against an automatic referral, it seems the city council has heeded Mayor John Tory’s warning to proceed with “great caution” about any possible bid.  Councilor James Pasternak raised the possibility of bidding to leverage the venue and transport legacy left after successfully hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games.

With the referral to the economic development council it seems unlikely that any bid could move forward quickly enough to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

Mayor Tory said in a statement Sunday “this is not as simple as saying ‘We have all the right facilities so let’s do it.’”

He added “it is a time-consuming, complex undertaking requiring years of preparation and unknown expense. I believe any move to proceed with a bid on these games will require great convincing.”

Tory voted against the plans in Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

But Pasternak told “we have the experience, we’ve had some great success with the Pan Am Games,” Pasternak said and added that with recently completed transport infrastructure projects and those planned for completion prior to 2022, along with the venue legacy from the Pan Am Games in 2015 “Toronto can be ready, can be great hosts at minimal costs.”

Earlier in the month Durban, South Africa was stripped of its right to host the first Commonwealth Games in Africa after the city missed deadlines and payments.  The CGF is now searching for a new host city that can organize the Games within a compressed schedule.  The CGF has yet to outline a bidding process or timeline.

Durban was awarded the Games when it finished the campaign unopposed.

Edmonton dropped out of the 2022 race when it was impacted financially by dropping oil prices but two years later the city is once again considering a bid along with British cities Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London as well as Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi.  Australian cities Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide have also voiced interest but Australian Commonwealth Games officials have said a bid is unlikely with Gold Coast already playing host to the 2018 edition of the Games.

Liverpool and Birmingham are considered to have an advantage over the other cities since they’ve already been preparing to bid for the 2026 Games.

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