Canadian Consulting Engineer

Pan Am Games will boost construction in southern Ontario

November 9, 2009
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The announcement last Friday in Mexico that Toronto will host the 2015 Pan Am Games is good news for the const...

The announcement last Friday in Mexico that Toronto will host the 2015 Pan Am Games is good news for the construction industry in the Golden Horseshoe.

The bid involves 50 venues in 17 municipalities stretching in a broad swath across southern Ontario. The venues are in three zones:  Toronto, Brampton, Markham and Mississauga in the central zone; Ajax, Oshawa, Pickering and Whitby in the eastern zone; and Burlington and Hamilton in the western zone. The overall budget is $1.43 billion, with the federal and provincial governments promising $500 million each.

The most expensive new venue will be a $170-million sports and recreation complex at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. To be jointly owned by the city and the university, the complex will be home to the Canadian Sports Institute Ontario, an institute dedicated to developing top athletes across Canada. For the Pan Am Games the venue will host the swimming, diving and fencing events, with two Olympic sized pools, a 10 metre diving tank and a multi-sport field house. The university has no design or design team for the building yet, but will be starting to launch the project over the next months.

Hamilton will also get a new venue: a  $150-million, 15,000-seat stadium to host the track and field events.


Existing venues will be used for many of the events.  Copps Coliseum in Hamilton will host the volleyball. In downtown Toronto, the Rogers Centre (the Skydome) in Toronto will be the site for the opening and closing ceremonies, BMO Field will host the soccer events, and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre will be the broadcast centre. Roy Thomson Hall is to be used for weightlifting, and the Air Canada Centre for basketball.

On the eastern lakefront in downtown Toronto the athletes village will be constructed on the West Don Lands — a brownfield area just being prepared for construction by AECOM. While this community development was planned to take place over the next 15 years, it will now be accelerated to provide accommodation for 8,500 athletes in 2015.

For Toronto, which failed to win the Olympic Games after two bids in 1996 and 2008, the announcement in Guadalajara, Mexico was cause for great jubilation for the most part. Many people are hoping the games will boost transit expansion plans in the city. A proposed new LRT transit line extension to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, for example, might now be built sooner than scheduled in time for 2015.

Toronto won the right to hold the 2015 Games on the first ballot, with 36 votes out of 52. The competing cities were Lima and Bogota.



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