TORONTO, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/- The Pan American Sports Organization`s (PASO) Evaluation Commission left Toronto today, impressed by the city`s bid plans for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games, following a busy two-day visit of proposed venues.
`Toronto has all the conditions to play host to the Pan American Games in 2015,` said Dr. Julio César Maglione, Chair, PASO Evaluation Commission at a press conference. `We`ve been warmly welcomed, and have learned a lot from the Toronto team.`
The Commission was especially impressed by Toronto`s commitment to the future of athletes and the community. `Toronto will be building facilities at several university campuses, which is an excellent project for the future and this is very important,` said Maglione.
`Ontarians are proud of the caliber of our sporting venues and the enthusiasm demonstrated by our organizing team, athletes and volunteers. We hope that the Commission will leave Toronto truly impressed with what we have to offer for the 2015 Pan Am Games,` said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who hosted a closing dinner for the visiting Commissioners Monday at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, proposed venue for the Games` sailing event.
Day one of the visit began on Sunday, August 30th, and saw PASO officials visit the future home of the new Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, including Aquatic Centre, at the University of Toronto`s Scarborough campus; the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – proposed media and broadcast centre, and event host; York University`s Rexall Centre and the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
Day two on August 31st had the Evaluation Officials visiting McMaster University`s David Braley Centre in Hamilton, view the Niagara-region water courses by helicopter, and continue the day with visits to Roy Thomson Hall (weight lifting), BMO Field (football), Direct Energy Centre (handball), Ricoh Coliseum (gymnastics), the Air Canada Centre (basketball) and finally to the Rogers Centre, where the opening and closing ceremonies and baseball events would take place.
`It was a great two-day visit – the Commission was met with amazing venues, eager volunteers and enthusiastic Canadian athletes at every turn during their visit to Toronto,` said Hon. David Peterson, Chair, Toronto 2015 Bid Committee. `Everyone`s hard work really paid off and demonstrated to the Commission that Toronto is the ideal city to host Pan Am Games in 2015.`
The evaluation visit is a critical milestone visit in the bid process. The commission also visited the other two competing cities — Bogota, Colombia and Lima, Peru — to assess key elements of each city`s bid. Toronto was the Commission`s last stop before it reports back to PASO, the organization responsible for the Games and whose member nations vote to award hosting rights. Toronto`s final bid presentation and the deciding vote to settle on the host city will take place in Mexico this November.
The Pan Am Games is a major international multi-sport event, held every four years for athletes of the 42 PASO member nations. The Pan American Games consists of all Summer Olympic sports, plus other events selected by the Pan American Sports Organization, and serve as an Olympic-qualifier for a number of the participating sports. The last edition of the Games was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2007 and the next will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico in October 2011.