(Contributed by Mike)
Right now, Toronto is hosting the Pan Am Games. This is an athletic event similar to the Olympics, but the participants are from the Americas, rather than around the world. It is a prestigious event, and hip-hop superstar Kanye West will be the main entertainer for the closing ceremonies this Sunday.
But Toronto has always had eyes on a bigger prize. This city is now the 4th largest in North America, and has always been the metropolitan heart of Canada. There are plenty of other beautiful cities in Canada, but none can boast the size and complexity of Toronto.
So it’s no surprise that Toronto wants a chance to host the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics is the ultimate prestige: a chance to introduce the city to the world and showcase what the city has to offer. So many believe that successfully hosting the Pan Am Games, similar in style but smaller in scope, will help Toronto beat out it’s competitors for the 2024 Olympics. What may be surprising is that Toronto has tried five times in the past to be the host for the Olympic games.
1960 and 1964 were a bust; Torontonians weren’t very enthusiastic about it, and the lack of facilities were worrisome to the IOC. In 1976, Toronto wasn’t considered internationally; the Canadian Olympic Association voted on Montreal as a candidate in that year. 1996 and 2008 were more successful, with Toronto coming in third place in 1996, and second in 2008. But the Toronto of 1996 faced many local problems which raised doubts about the city’s ability to handle a major sporting event at the same time, and in 2008, the IOC had worries about Toronto’s commitment to it’s own sports scene. Torontonians were just not interested in it’s own teams, so why would the Olympics be different?
So the discussion is happening again. Most people agree that the Pan Am games have been a success. So perhaps this will help Toronto win. But at the same time, many Torontonians are ambivalent towards the Pan Am games, and this may be a crucial factor in deciding if Toronto even bids at all.
The dates and information about Toronto’s Olympic bids taken from: