Originally Posted by isaidso
Toronto needs the residential regardless of the Pan American Games. This way they get both demands filled. It's an huge opportunity to get this done while getting the government to pay for much of it. Waste of money? Not for Toronto it's not.
It's very true that Torontonians thumb their nose at almost everything unless it's global is scope or American. Toronto bidding for this lesser event fit the bill on a number of fronts though. There is a shocking lack of athletic infrastructure in Toronto, a desire to develop the East Bayfront where the athlete's village will be, and a need to fast track other plans that are still sitting on the drawing board.
Beyond this, it's seen as a stepping stone to landing the big prize: the summer Olympics. Notice that the athletic stadium is going to Hamilton! Torontonians are largely indifferent to this event, but wrapped it up as a Toronto bid to win.
If anything, the Pan Ams will kill any potential Olympic bid for a long time. Virtually none of the facilities being built will count towards an Olympic games and after the inevitable controversies, delays and cost overruns, Toronto taxpayers will scream "NO!!" at the first person who so much as mentions the words "Olympic" and "bid" in the same sentence!
Take the overpriced pools and condos as consolation- they're sorely needed. (well.. not the condos)
This is from Feb 2006 but since nothing has been done since then (note that everything promised for 2008 has quietly slipped into oblivion), it applies now more than ever:
Toronto lacking facilities for elite olympic athletes
By ROB GRANATSTEIN, CITY HALL BUREAU
The absence of Toronto athletes from the Olympic Games -- never mind the winner's podium -- comes as no shock to sports leaders in this city.
"It's sad," said Brenda Librecz, general manager of parks and recreation. "But we're not surprised at all."
Librecz said for both summer and winter sports, Toronto doesn't have venues for training elite athletes.
"We're good at the playground level," Librecz said. "But not very good to the podium.
"Once you start moving a little bit ahead you have to leave Toronto," Librecz said.
That's shown up in Turin. North York freestyle skiier Veronika Bauer and Richmond Hill figure skater Emanuel Sandhu are the only two GTA athletes, outside of hockey, at the Olympics.
Bauer called Toronto's facilities the worst in Canada.
Ontario isn't blessed with Olympic-calibre mountains, but it also doesn't have a speed skating oval.
Toronto only has two 50-metre pools -- one leaking, the other, at the U of T, largely for the university.
City arenas are an average of 35 years old. New ones aren't in the works. There is $200 million worth of outstanding repair work.
"If you want to get into Olympic sports, you have to move from Toronto," Canadian Olympic Committee president Chris Rudge told the Sun's Steve Simmons.
Mayor David Miller wasn't willing to agree with Rudge.
"Chris Rudge should know better," Miller said yesterday. "He should know about the work we're doing to bring together all of Toronto's sports infrastructure. It would be nice to see the COC step up to the plate and be part of the solution."
New facilities are on the way. The $27-million Western Beaches Watercourse, under construction, will provide a training area for rowing, kayaking and Dragon Boating (not an Olympic sport).
There is a new soccer stadium at Exhibition Place, and fields are being prepared in the Portlands for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, to be ready by 2008.
A Portlands indoor sports complex is in the plans -- that could have a speed skating oval -- and is supposed to be ready by March 2008.
The city is improving the track at Birchmount Stadium and updating some arenas.
Still, Karen Pitre, chair of the Toronto Sports Council, said the need for sport infrastructure is desperate.
"There's nothing here," she said. "The athletes all move to Calgary."
There isn't one multi-pad arena, elite-level gym or field or 50-metre pool east of Yonge St., Pitre said.
"You have a local park and a local arena," she said. "You just can't use it because all the better-organized sports push you out."
The provincial and federal governments need to step up and build the bigger regional-type facilities, Pitre said.
The new world-class soccer stadium is good, Pitre said, and Toronto has the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre and Rexall Centre. But the city is weak in premier public facilities and places for house leagues.
"If we can't accommodate kids who want to play house league, you turn them off sport before they even begin and that's a crime itself," she said.