Yes, the road closures and HOV lanes are driving us all nuts, but there are also some very good reasons to love the Pan Am Games. Maybe not now, but in weeks, months and years down the road.
A number of City-owned facilities have undergone significant improvements to prepare them as venues and training facilities for Games – and others built new. These investments will be a lasting legacy for Toronto residents for generations to come.
Here are six reasons to love the Pan Am Games.
1. Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre
Known as the CIBC Pan Am Aquatics Centre during the Games, the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) represents the single largest investment in amateur sport development in Canada. Co-owned by the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto Scarborough, and developed in partnership with the federal and Ontario governments, the TPASC will serve community members, university students and high-performance athletes in future.
The 365,000-sq.-ft. facility features two 50-metre pools, a separate dive tank, four gymnasiums, three multi-purpose studios, a fitness centre, a climbing wall, dry-land dive training, community program and meeting spaces, a sports medicine clinic and food concessions. The Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario (CSIO) head office is on-site, providing world-leading sport science and sport performance services including coaching and training facilities.
2. BMX Centre
Located at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, the BMX Centre is a 350-m racing and training BMX track. Designed and constructed to meet international certification, this track will serve as a legacy for competition-level events as well as the community’s recreational use.
Centennial Park is located near Islington-City Centre West.
3. Etobicoke Olympium
This facility has undergone various renovations, including improvements to the existing Olympic-sized pool and dive towers, replacement of major mechanical, electrical and life-safety systems as well as redesigned lobby and administrative areas. The Olympium will be used as a training facility during the Games.
Etobicoke Olympium is located near Islington-City Centre West.
4. West Channel Watercourse at Marilyn Bell Park
The channel will host open-water swim, triathlon swim, waterski and wakeboard. A wave-attenuating structure has been added to the north and south sides of the channel to ensure a first-class water venue for the Games.
The park is located near High Park.
5. Track and field venues
Both the indoor and outdoor track surfaces at the Toronto Track and Field Centre have been replaced so the centre can serve as an athlete training and warm-up facility during the Games. The track surface at Birchmount Stadium and Centennial Stadium have both been re-graded and replaced.
6. Mattamy National Cycling Centre
The Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton – known as the Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome during the Games – is one of just two internationally sanctioned velodromes in Canada. The site for cycling events during the Games, the facility will later be used as a training facility for cyclists, as well as a recreational facility for the community.
Photos: Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games/Parapan Am Games