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The Markham GTA Centre will be built:

The plans for a new arena in the Greater Toronto Area to compete with the Air Canada Centre took another step forward Thursday night when the Markham town council approved a financial partnership between its principals and the town.

Graeme Roustan, the chairman of Bauer Performance Sports Ltd., and prominent developer Rudy Bratty are the driving forces behind GTA Sports and Entertainment Ltd., the company which plans to build the 20,000-seat arena and surrounding development on land owned by Markham and Bratty along Highway 407 between Warden Avenue and Kennedy Road.

While Roustan’s group and Markham officials say the $325-million project, which is expected to be open in the fall of 2014, will eventually receive 90 per cent of its funding from the private sector, the town is putting up half of the cost. Council voted 11-2 on Thursday to borrow $162.5-million over 20 years. Roustan and Bratty’s group is putting up the other half and Markham will own the arena.

Supporters of the deal say Markham will pay for most of the loan through surcharges on new condominiums and apartments. The town is also supposed to make money by leasing back the arena, parking fees and a portion of ticket sales.

Roustan, the chairman of GTA Sports and Entertainment, and an influential figure in the hockey world, has been careful to say the arena does not depend on landing a second NHL franchise to survive. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Roustan’s group was told not to expect a franchise, either through location or expansion, although that has not stopped speculation about the possibility.

“We are beyond pleased that Markham has decided to continue this partnership and will work with us to finalize an agreement on the construction of this facility,” Roustan said in a press release. “The GTA is thriving and the demand for sport and cultural entertainment venues far outstrips the supply of available space.

“Markham is the perfect location for this facility for several reasons, including proximity to major transit, a diverse and growing population, and a location in the approximate centre of the GTA.”

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Finally we have an update on the venue plan. It will be announced on Friday May 11, 2012.

Toronto 2015 Pan Am venues to be announced next week

Torontonians will find out next Friday where the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games events will be held, according to Ian Troop, CEO of the TO2015 organizing committee.

A venue map will reveal the plan for the participating municipalities and zones of Southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, he told the Globe and Mail at a news conference about the athletes’ village Friday.

TO2015’s decision to arrange venues in eight clusters instead of spreading out the venue footprint among 50 possible stand-alone sites will allow for multiple sports at each venue, improve transportation and security for the Games, manage costs and maximize the Games’ experience, officials contend.

The Toronto 2015 Pan Am organizing committee and a lead corporate sponsor Friday announced the official name of the Athletes’ Village: “CIBC Pan and Parapan Am Games Athletes’ Village.”

The village site is located near Toronto’s waterfront, in the West Don Lands community, and after the Games it will become a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly community.

World-renowned Canadian sprinter and sprint/relay coach Molly Killingbeck said of the village: “It’s about the legacy, what will be left behind ... for all Ontarians and all Torontonians and all Canadians. So I think it’s lasting.”

The long-awaited announcement of successful bidders for the pool facility at the University of Toronto and track and field stadium at York University is also coming up.

“We’re within weeks of that being decided,” said Mr. Troop. The aquatic centre is at or below budget, he said. “We’re looking forward to naming that winning proponent and starting construction in July, so it’s moving along very nicely.”

The decision will be made by a group of people, including Infrastructure Ontario, TO2015, U of T and the city of Toronto, who come together to evaluate the bids, he said.

“It’s a very disciplined process,” said Mr. Troop, “Which is good.”

The host municipality for the Games’ baseball venue will be decided early this summer. “It’s one of those sports where we have more work to do,” Mr. Troop said. “We’ll be fine to have that ready to go for test events in 2014, so we don’t feel that we’re under any pressure.”

Games organizers have come under fire for being slow to announce the Games’ venues and facilities.

“There’s always people that will criticize us until they jump on the bandwagon, so, you know, we’re doing what we think is an appropriate timing. There’s lots of moving pieces. We’ve got two major stakeholders with the feds and the province, we’ve been through approving our budgets, we’ve got all these municipalities to make sure that we treat honourably and work with them, so it’s taken a while to get to what we think is a very exciting plan,” he said.

In support of the Games, CIBC also announced Friday its commitment to contribute $1.2-million to a special Scholarship Athlete Award for students. Over the past 14 years, the Youthvision Scholarship program has helped 420 underprivileged youth achieve dreams to complete post-secondary education.

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Hamilton to host ALL Pan Am soccer games

Toronto's 2015 Pan Am games logo

Hamilton is on board to host all of the Pan Am soccer games in 2015.

Mayor Bob Bratina sent an email to councillors Wednesday afternoon announcing that Hamilton – which had previously been scheduled to host only some soccer games and practices – would now be the site of roughly 48 men and womens’ games.

Bratina told councillors that more details will be available in the next day or so. TO2015, the Games’ organizing committee, is scheduled to announce its finalized list of Pan Am venues.

“You have to be elated – because all of the teams will play all of the games here,” Bratina said in an interview.

The plan aligns with TO2015’s plan to create sport “clusters” that would concentrate specific sports in one spot. It’s also the first time since the bid was won in 2009 that TO2015 has increased Hamilton’s Games’ footprint rather than shrunk it. Since the Games were announced, Hamilton lost track and field events and a velodrome.

It’s not clear how the clustering concept will affect Hamilton’s other events – volleyball at Copps Coliseum and a training pool at McMaster

“What was shared with me is the efficiency of clustering the sports means they felt bringing all the soccer to Hamilton would be the best thing,” Bratina said. “How that relates to other sports, I don’t know.”

Still, John Hertel, acting CEO of Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc., says that TO2015 has reserved dates at Copps Coliseum for volleyball and has already visited the site.

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Clustered venues for PanAm Games a win for tourism and traffic

A compact plan for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games will see more events take place in Toronto, and a shift in focus to a handful of major sites outside the city including Markham and Mississauga, with all soccer games held at a new Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton.

The new venue plan will be announced Friday morning at an event expected to be attended by politicians from three levels of government including federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The new strategy of “clustering” events was unveiled by Ian Troop, CEO of the TO2015 organizing committee in January as a way to save money and reduce transportation headaches, but exactly what that means for individual communities hoping to be part of the events has remained uncertain.

The revised plan to cluster events will increase activities at the “Pan Am Park” at Exhibition Place, The Globe and Mail has learned, as well as three other Toronto sites – Centennial Park in Etobicoke, York University, University of Toronto Scarborough, and U of T’s downtown St. George campus.

Outside the Toronto, Markham will be named a cluster, hosting events at its new field house and pool, and Mississauga will be a cluster with activities centred at its Hershey Centre, sources say.

In a switch from earlier plans, which had soccer matches spread among venues in the GTA, the new strategy will see all games, including finals, held in Hamilton.

“This is a great outcome for the city,” said Hamilton Mayor Bob BratinaThursday. Mr. Bratina predicted the new schedule will mean more spectators staying in local hotels and increased crowds, especially for popular teams from South America and matches involving the defending champion Canadian women’s team.

The games will be held at the city’s new $150-million stadium to be built on the site of the existing Ivor Wynne Stadium. Work on the new venue will begin this year, once the CFL season ends, and it is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014.

Hamilton was originally considered as a site for track and field events, but they were later shifted to York University, which will also host tennis.

While some sports venues remain uncertain, including key sports such as baseball and softball, Friday’s announcement is designed to demonstrate progress for the Toronto event, which has faced criticism for a lack of transparency. Questions also have been raised about cost overruns and whether venues will be ready on time, given the delay in announcing event locations.

Toronto Councillor Mark Grimes, the city’s point man for the games and chair of the board of Exhibition Place, said the switch in strategy makes sense.

“I think having clusters is going to attract more visitors,” Mr. Grimes said. “It’s going to be easier to see more sports.”

Concentrating activities at a few sites also will cut security costs and ease transportation to events, he said. “How we move athletes through the city is going to be the big challenge. The more clustering the better for the logistics of the whole event,” he said.

The athletes’ village will be located near Toronto’s waterfront in the West Don Lands and after the games it will become a mixed-use community.

In addition to shifting sports to Exhibition Place, source say negotiations are taking place to hold additional activities at the new Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport slated to be built by 2014 at U of T’s downtown campus.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Caledon Equesrian Park (in Palgrave) was the first stand alone venue announced. It will seat about 3,500 seats and is about 40-50 minutes away from the athletes village. The cross country portion will be held nearby at the Will o Wind Farm in Mono

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The new venue plans looks good but yeah, like intoronto said, the Olympic venue layout will definitely be more compact. A lot of the sports that are being held outside of Toronto proper could easily be held in the city for the Pan Am Games. The only reason they were given to those nearby cities is because they had to please the Greater Toronto Area since they tagged these games the "Golden Horseshoe" games when they were bidding for them.

And here's an update on the West Don Lands development


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  • 2 weeks later...

Presenting renderings of the Athletic Stadium. (Just a personal not I do walk 20 metres every day away from where it will eventually be built!)


Functional for a PanAms but very Guadalajara-esque to an olympic ambitious city. Please don't take this as a negative critic to Toronto but, apart for keeping the 2015 games low cost, what are the reasons to skip building the main stadium for an eventual SOG now and use it in time for the Pan American Games?

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