Toronto: One year until Pan Am Games

July 16, 2014

Athletics, International

Toronto: Pan Am Games hampered by facility delays
Pan Am Games officials confident that all 25 venues across Southern Ontario will be ready on time and under budget, but some sites don’t appear to be on track

By: Jennifer Pagliaro
The Star

TORONTO- Regardless of whether it’s built yet, the Games will come.

While Pan Am Games officials take to podiums and send press releases to declare that all 25 venues across the GTA will be ready on time — and under budget — the on-the-ground realities one year out from the opening ceremony are already starting to derail.

Just this week, new Minister of Sport Michael Coteau admitted the provincial government can’t guarantee the event will be on budget.

A massive $600-million construction project has been underway since the fall of 2012, involving 10 new complexes and several major retrofitting and upgrades to existing facilities.

However, completion of some buildings has lagged, holding up test events, while slow progress at a few smaller venues has had an impact on local businesses.

Construction delays have already marred what was to be the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ big CFL homecoming at a new 22,500-seat stadium. Two games have been pushed to the nearby McMaster University campus with no official word on when the stadium will be ready.

The CFL game would have served as an important test event to work out any issues before the venue — which is hosting soccer — was cast into the international spotlight for the Games. These test events in and around Southern Ontario are benchmarks some venues could miss.

And the complexities of planning an international event this big have also left some kinks unresolved as the relationship with smaller venues across the GTA sours.

Organizers, meanwhile, say there is still plenty of time to put everything back on track.

“It’s absolutely fair to say we’re under budget,” said the Games’ CEO, Saad Rafi, calling it one of the most significant builds in amateur sports anywhere.

He contends the 25 facilities will be ready six to 11 months before the Games, slated for July 10-26, 2015.
Video: One year until Pan Am Games in Toronto

Video: Countdown to Toronto’s Pan Am Games begins

2015 Pan Am Games

2015 Pan Am Games

Video: Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games Cisco Velodrome


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