Countdown to Toronto’s Pan Am Games hits three years
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:00AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 1:31PM EDT
The City of Toronto is celebrating on Tuesday as the countdown to hosting the Pan Am Games reaches the three-year mark.
Mayor Rob Ford declared July 10 Pan Am/Parapan Am Day in Toronto in honour of the event, which he said would help sports participation grow across the province.
“The 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will use the power of sport to engage Ontario's diverse communities, inspire children and youth and transform our neighbourhoods through legacy facilities and programs,” Ford said in an official declaration.
More than 10,000 athletes from 41 countries will descend on Toronto during the international event, in which nations across North, Central and South America compete in a variety of sports.
The Games will be held at venues across the Greater Toronto Area and will involve more than 20,000 volunteers.
Hundreds of people gathered at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday afternoon to watch as flags for Pan American Sports Organization and America's Paralympics Committee were raised at city hall
Athletes Curt Harnett, a three-time Olympic medalist in track cycling, and Summer Mortimer, a para-swimmer with several world records, were among the dignitaries gathered at city hall.
The Pan Am festivities will also include the unveiling of the Fresh Eyes art installation – a series of art projects celebrating the stories of new Canadian citizens.
On Tuesday evening, 41 pianos decorated in honour of countries represented in the Games will be unveiled across the city.
While Toronto organizers say they are running inside their $1.4 billion budget, the size of the Toronto Pan Am Games has been scaled back to use fewer venues and reduce overall reduce cost.
Ian Troop, the CEO of the Pan Am Games committee, says that most venues are already under construction and those that remain will break ground soon.
“This is over in a flash, and we are working very hard to make sure our venues are on track and on time,” Troop told CTV Toronto.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson
Spectators gather at Nathan Phillips Square to celebrate the three-year countdown to the 2015 Pan Am Games on Tuesday July 10, 2012. (Natalie Johnson/CTV Toronto)
Fencers perform at an event to mark the three-year countdown to Toronto's 2015 Pan Am Games. (Peter Leclair/CTV Toronto)