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Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games organizers explain building plans

The construction industry is hearing more about what's in the works for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Toronto won the bid for the games with 33 votes, against 11 for Lima and 7 for Bogota. The = games will be held July 10-26 and August...


The construction industry is hearing more about what’s in the works for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Toronto won the bid for the games with 33 votes, against 11 for Lima and 7 for Bogota. The = games will be held July 10-26 and August 7-14, 2015.

At Construct Canada on December 2, Bill Senn, senior vice president of infrastructure for the games’ organizing committee, outlined the broad scope of the capital works program, which will amount to $640 million for venues alone.

He called it the “largest sports event in North America.” (This was at first hard to believe, given that Vancouver recently hosted the Winter Olympics. But indeed, the PanAm and Parapan games will involve 43 venues and approximately 8,500 athletes. In comparison the Vancouver Olympics involved 5,500 athletes.)

In terms of geographical coverage, the 2015 PanAm Games will cover a wide arc of southern Ontario, involving no less than 17 municipalities in the Golden Horseshoe, from Welland in the southwest to Minden in the northeast, said Sell.

It is a “huge undertaking,” Sells said.

Five new facilities are to be built, and 22 existing venues will be renovated. Infrastructure Ontario is in charge of the projects, and they have hired B+H Architects of Toronto as the “venue consultant.”

The new venues to be built are:

– a new aquatic centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. It will have two 50-metre swimming pools, a dive tank, basketball courts and a running track. It will also have a high-performance athletes’ testing lab.

– a new football (soccer) stadium to hold 15,000 spectators. The first choice for a venue is Hamilton, but negotiations were still not finalized.

– an athletics stadium at York University, with 12,000 seats.

– a 50-metre pool and gymnasium in Markham

– a new velodrome in Hamilton, with seats for 3,500.

Sell spoke as part of the Reed Construction Data-sponsored CEO Power breakfast at Construct Canada.

Another speaker on the panel, Meg Davis, described the Athletes’ Village, which is to be built on the West Don Lands, one of the new brownfield areas being redeveloped along the waterfront. Vice president of development for the West Don Lands, Davis explained that massive earthworks are currently being constructed on the lands to protect areas as far west as the financial district of Bay Street against flooding.

Antonio de Santiago, executive vice president of Infrastructure Ontario, said the village was to be developed as a design-build-finance model and that a request for qualifications for a “master developer” went out in October.

He said they would be tapping into private sector financing for most of the projects, but that control and ownership would remain in public hands. Requests for qualifications for other projects would be going out via the MERX system in 2011. They will also be hosting “meet and greet” meetings with potential subcontractors.

According to documents on the Toronto 2015 website, the organizers are “working hard” to ensure the suppliers and contractors involved in the games represent a range of local businesses and companies from the Greater Horseshoe.