With Boston now out of contention in the race to host the 2024 Olympic Games, talk has begun to circulate about a possible Toronto bid. Here are five reasons why Toronto should be the first Canadian city to host the Summer Olympics since 1976.
- A history of successful sporting events and facilities.
Toronto boasts an impressive array of world-class stadiums and infrastructure, including the Air Canada Centre, the Rogers Centre, and the Rexall Centre. In the past twelve months alone the city has hosted the Pan Am Games, the Canadian Open, an ATP Masters 1,000 tennis tournament, and several important events on the NBA and MLB calendars.
- We could learn to appreciate new sports.
Toronto is a city that already has a strong sporting culture, but while the city is a Mecca for enthusiasts of hockey, basketball, and baseball, hosting the Olympics would undoubtedly boost interest in lower profile sports like boxing, soccer, and badminton. Canada has produced some great athletes — such as U of T alumna Michelle Li and reigning Commonwealth and Pan Am champion in women’s badminton — who deserve their share of time in the spotlight.
- It’s the Olympics.
While the Pan Am Games went by, largely, without a hitch, it has been suggested that they also went by with little fanfare. “The new mayor is excited about his city’s big moment in the spotlight, but hardly anyone else seems to be,” the New York Times reported during the lead-up to the Pan Am Games. But this would be the Olympic Games — should Toronto prove successful in a bid to play host. The level of interest generated by the Olympics would challenge the residents of any city to remain apathetic— recent polls suggest that Torontonians are already beginning to warm up to the idea. So what better venue to host the Olympic Games than a city with a taste for sport that comes alive in the summer?
- We really want it.
Toronto has seriously entertained the idea of hosting the Olympic Games five times in the past, meaning that if a bid does get pushed through for 2024, it would bring the tally to an even half-dozen. The last of two official bids came in 2008, when Toronto came in second behind Beijing. “There were a few minuses but for the most part I think it was a highly regarded bid both domestically and internationally,” U of T’s Professor Kidd, who served as a member on the last two Olympic Bid committees, remarked
- It’s a win-win-win.
Not only does Toronto have a lot to offer as a host-city — to all the athletes, fans, and major stakeholders involved — but it would also benefit from the Olympic makeover undertaken to transform a city in preparation for the games. The 2008 bid proposed the reclaiming of industrial areas to build an Olympic village along the waterfront, and the construction of a new rapid transit network connecting the venues. These improvements could only be regarded as desirable. All in all the planning, development, and reconstruction that must follow any successful Olympic bid could provide a welcome boost to tourism in a tourist-friendly city and sports-enthusiasts flocking to Toronto for the games would be given a chance to sample some of our famous Canadian hospitality.