Sports

The Pan Am/Parapan Am Games are coming to town

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An estimated 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 41 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean will be in Toronto this summer for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

The PanAm Games run July 10 to 26 and the Parapan Am Games run August 7 to 15. Opening ceremonies produced and directed by Cirque du Soleil are to start in the early evening on July 10 at the Rogers Centre.

Toronto Tourism anticipates an additional 250,000 people in the region during the Games. “Of the 350,000 tickets we’ve sold thus far, 8 to 10 per cent are U.S. or international,” said Saad Rafi, CEO of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

There will be a few changes in traffic operations. High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes on the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Boulevard between Bathurst and Yonge will ensure athletes get to their sports venues in good time. More than 30 venues are located in 16 southern Ontario municipalities from Welland to Orillia and from Mono (just north of Orangeville) to Oshawa.

Toronto Police have good news – they’re staying pretty much in the background and treating the Games as a sporting event, not a security event. “This is not the G20,” police have told community meetings where residents sigh with relief.

Garrison Common, a large park on Fort York’s west side, will be the site for an Aboriginal Pavilion during the Games to showcase Canada’s First Nations. Exhibition Place will become CIBC Pan Am Park for sports events including rugby, indoor volleyball, figure skating and gymnastics. Plenty more will take place at venues all over Toronto and throughout southern Ontario.

To learn more about the Games, visit toronto2015.org. Further information is available at ontario.ca/games2015.

Dedicated reporter/photographer with expertise in covering daily news, politics, business, lifestyle and human interest features for print and online editions for 5 publications.

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