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Countdown Clock: Two Years to Go Until Toronto Hosts Largest Parapan Am Games Ever Held!

Celebrations include celebrity wheelchair basketball game in Toronto, formal ceremony and sport demonstrations of judo, boccia and sitting volleyball in Whitby

Sir Philip Craven, president of International Paralympic Committee, to visit Toronto next week

TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Famed Canadian wheelchair basketball star Richard (Bear) Peter will lead a celebrity pickup game today in downtown Toronto to celebrate the two-year countdown to the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games.

The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will conduct the ceremonial tipoff at 2 p.m., while Matt Devlin of the Toronto Raptors and Mike Frogley, director of the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Academy, will provide play-by-play of the game at Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens. Other players include: three-time Paralympic gold medallist Marni Abbott-Peter and local media and sport celebrities.

In addition to the wheelchair basketball game in Toronto, TO2015 and its partners will open the day's celebrations at 9:30 a.m. at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, home to judo and boccia during the Games. Youth camps and community groups will have a chance to try out these and other Parapan sports to celebrate the two-year countdown. All events are free and open to the public. For more details, visit http://www.toronto2015.org

"The 2015 Parapan Am Games will be an amazing experience for our players — and all Canadian para-athletes, who rarely get to compete in major international competitions on home soil," said Peter, who is also a member of the Cowichan Tribes of British Columbia.

In two years, 1,500 of the best para-athletes from 28 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) will come to southern Ontario to compete in 15 sports, including the Parapan Am Games' debut of wheelchair rugby, which a Canadian team created in Winnipeg in 1977, and the return of football 7-a-side to the program for the first time since 2007. All sports are Paralympic qualifiers for the upcoming Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Previously, the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan Am Games in Mexico featured 13 sports with 1,310 athletes.

Next week, Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), will visit the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015), after opening the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, to discuss plans for hosting the largest Parapan Am Games ever held.

"The 2015 Parapan Am Games promise to not only showcase great athletes, but to also demonstrate the indomitable nature of the human spirit," said The Hon. David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "I know that in 2015, Ontarians will embrace these amazing athletes as family. Our warm welcome and cheers of support will help them achieve their athletic dreams and leave them with a lifetime of memories of Ontario and indeed all of Canada."

A key player on the most successful men's wheelchair basketball team in Paralympic history (three gold and a silver), Peter, who is now retired, is hopeful the Canadian men's and women's teams will take gold in 2015. At the 2011 Parapan Am Games, the women won silver, while the men took bronze.

"These Games offer the chance to show off how intense the level of competition is and to attract new athletes to the Paralympic Movement," he continued. "This is a great time to be a para-athlete and it's only getting better as interest grows, thanks to the recent Games in Vancouver and London. I'm positive Toronto — and all the great sports fans here — will push that to the next level!"

In Whitby, children from local summer camps will take part in sport demonstrations with top Canadian athletes in judo, boccia, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

Abilities Centre, which opened in June 2012, has been lauded as one of the best new accessible sport and recreational facilities in the world. The barrier-free, indoor facility caters to local, national and international sporting events.

"In two years' time, Abilities Centre will be jumping with excitement as Canadians cheer on top para-athletes from the Americas and Caribbean. This is where their dreams will come true after years of hard work," explained TO2015 CEO Ian Troop. "That scene will be repeated for seven more days at sports facilities in Mississauga, Milton, Markham and Toronto.

"Canada has long championed the Paralympic Movement," he continued. "Our goal with the 2015 Parapan Am Games —the largest ever held — is to set a new standard for these Games and to raise awareness and increase participation in parasport in the Western Hemisphere."

It was only 14 years ago the first Parapan Am Games were held in Mexico City, with 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competing in four sports. They have grown steadily ever since. The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games mark the first time they will be held in Canada.

Almost 40 years ago, Toronto helped play a role in changing how the world viewed Paralympic sports when it hosted the fifth Paralympic Games, called the Torontolympiad. Tens of thousands of Canadians cheered on more than 1,560 athletes from 40 countries who competed in 13 sports.

The Torontolympiad shepherded the expansion of eligible Paralympic athletes from strictly wheelchair users to include visually impaired and amputee athletes for the first time. Two new medal sports were officially added to the program (goalball and shooting), new distances were added for wheelchair racing and hundreds of hours of daily television coverage were produced for the first time, reaching new audiences for the nascent Paralympic Movement.

Canadian athletes have excelled in parasport ever since and helped raised the bar for competition globally, thanks to federal funding devoted to developing sport opportunities for people with a disability.

About TO2015

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) is tasked with the responsibility of planning, managing and delivering the Games. Its mission is to ignite the spirit through a celebration of sport and culture. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14.

The 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as other partners and sponsors. CIBC is the Lead Partner of the Games.

For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org.

Additional Quotes

The Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

"For decades, Canada has served as a leader in the Paralympic Movement, thanks to the work of tireless visionaries and federal programs that have helped develop sport opportunities for people with a disability. Our Government is proud to support the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, which are creating a rich legacy of accessible sport infrastructure for future generations to use and encouraging more Canadians to take up parasport and lead healthy, active lives."

The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport):

"In just two years, Canada will welcome the top para-athletes from the Americas and Caribbean for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. Our Government is proud to support these Games, which will create opportunities for more Canadians to get involved in parasport at the local recreational level in brand-new accessible facilities, while also providing a rare opportunity for our Canadian athletes to compete—and win—on home soil."

The Honourable Michael Chan, Ontario Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games:

"In just 2 years Ontario will welcome athletes of all abilities who will inspire and elevate para-sport competitions in the global arena. Hosting the 2015 Parapan Am Games will heighten awareness of Ontario's increased para-sport capacity and showcase Ontario as an accessible tourist destination."

The Honourable Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment:

"By attracting the world's top para-athletes to Ontario, the Parapan Am Games will give us all an opportunity to celebrate their athleticism, their achievements and their determination. But the Parapan Am games will do even more -- they will leave a proud and enduring legacy of parasport infrastructure that will make our communities more accessible and more inclusive for years to come.

His Worship Rob Ford, Mayor of the City of Toronto:

"As the official Host City of the 2015 Parapan Am Games, Toronto will provide the stage from which the ever-growing parasport community will shine in the spotlight. These Games offer Torontonians a fantastic opportunity to experience live elite athletic competition but they will also spur our city's economy and create thousands of jobs. The lasting sports legacy of the 2015 Games will also benefit para-athletes in Toronto and our neighbouring communities, through the accessible facilities and infrastructure that will serve for years to come."

Her Worship Pat Perkins, Mayor of the Town of Whitby:

"Whitby is proud to be a host community for the 2015 Parapan Am Games. We are striving to be a completely barrier-free community that provides opportunities for everyone. We applaud the choice of the Abilities Centre, a world-class facility built for people of all abilities, as the venue. In true Canadian style, two years from now, we will open our arms to embrace the participants in the Parapan Am Games."

Leo Plue, Executive Director, Abilities Centre:

"Parasport in Canada has been drawing the world's attention for decades; not only for the talent and tenacity of our athletes, but for the way in which we back parasport in its most grassroots form. The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games will create pride in our athletes and our communities and the Abilities Centre is thrilled to be involved as a venue where the best para-athletes in the Americas and Caribbean will compete."

Dr. Gaétan Tardif, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC):

"We're looking forward to the TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games where our objective is to compete at the highest level, to put our best team forward and to finish top three in the overall medal count. This is a strong and ambitious goal and the CPC will work with our sport organizations to make sure our athletes are well prepared to shine in front of Canadians in Toronto."

SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

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TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games on course to be best ever, says IPC President

TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2013 /CNW/ - The TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games are on course to be the best yet according to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Sir Philip Craven after a day-long visit to Toronto on Wednesday, August 14 where he met with Games organizers.

In less than two years' time, more than 1,500 athletes from 28 countries will be in Toronto and the surrounding region for the final major multi-sport competition ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, and after reviewing the Games' plans, the most powerful man in the Paralympic Movement said he was impressed with what he saw.

"I'm greatly encouraged with the way TO2015 is going about this mammoth project and leave fully confident that they will deliver the best Parapan American Games to date," said Sir Philip who was part of the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team that took part in the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games.

"The Organizing Committee is fully integrated at all levels, paying equal attention to both the Pan and Parapan Games, which is vitally important. This is shown across all its activities and underlined by the fact that Pachi, the Games' mascot, has a visual impairment. Like most porcupines, he can't see people or objects that are far away which would make him a T11-T13 if he was competing in track and field or S11-S13 if he was a swimmer.

"Between now and August 7, 2015 when the Games get underway, the Organizing Committee should not take its foot off the gas. There is a passion and superb team ethic to deliver a great event and, like them, I am counting down the days until the event begins."

Sir Philip believes the next three years in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are the most important yet for raising awareness of the Paralympic Movement in the Americas and said Toronto and Canada both have huge roles to play.

"Last year, London staged the best Paralympic Games ever, attracting almost 2.8 million spectators and a cumulated worldwide TV audience of 3.8 billion. We want Rio to be even better and to do that we need to increase the profile of Paralympic sport on this continent not just in 2016 but in the years before.

"That is why the Parapans are so important for us here in 2015. We need to see an increase in the amount of TV coverage parasport receives across the Americas, and the Parapans taking place in Canada—a nation with a proud history of supporting the Paralympic Movement—will help us achieve this."

The TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games will feature 15 sports, all of which will be qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. At previous Parapan American Games, some countries have used the event as an opportunity to introduce new talent; however, it is likely in two years' time all teams will be at full strength.

"Some of the world's leading athletes had their big break at previous Parapan American Games and those watching in the venues and on TV in 2015 can expect to see some stunning performances," continued Sir Philip. "Ahead of Rio 2016, Brazil I am sure will send their top names as will the USA, and Canada has already come out and said they want a top three finish. It all makes for thrilling sport in a superb city."

The TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games will take place from August 7 to 14, 2015.

The first Parapan American Games were held in 1998 in Mexico City and featured 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competing in four sports. The most recent Parapan Am Games were staged in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 and featured 13 sports and 1,310 athletes.

SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1414209#ixzz2by8EelBw

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I'm more eager for the 2015 PanAm than the 2016 Olympics.

At least we can compete in the PanAmerican games, lol. It's so nice to see Brazilians competing with good chances in every sport hehe. We'll probably win 18 medals in 2016, if lucky. That'll be a shame.

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I'm more eager for the 2015 PanAm than the 2016 Olympics.

At least we can compete in the PanAmerican games, lol. It's so nice to see Brazilians competing with good chances in every sport hehe. We'll probably win 18 medals in 2016, if lucky. That'll be a shame.

As for 2015 i think it all depends what other countrys make it in for say soccer/basketball/baseball if most of the strong countrys make it were going to be in for a long games as for womens soccer what makes it worse is with the womens world cup going on so the Pan Am could see our b squad.

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As for 2015 i think it all depends what other countrys make it in for say soccer/basketball/baseball if most of the strong countrys make it were going to be in for a long games as for womens soccer what makes it worse is with the womens world cup going on so the Pan Am could see our b squad.

Mr. Reidjr, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you thought I was a fellow canadian, right? I'm Brazilian. Appears Canada is in the same situation as us.

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Premier Nominates the Hon. David Peterson as Chair of TO2015

Premier Kathleen Wynne is delighted to announce that the Hon. David Peterson will accept the nomination to become Chair of the Toronto 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games Organizing Committee, TO2015.

Premier Wynne would like to thank the outgoing Chair Roger Garland for his outstanding work in laying a strong foundation for the upcoming Games.

Ontario is proud to host the "People's Games" where it will welcome more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 41 countries, along with a quarter of a million expected visitors. The Games will celebrate sport and showcase all that Ontario has to offer.

Mr. Peterson set the stage for world-class Games in 2009 when he formally ran Ontario's successful bid to host the event. His work ensured that the Games will showcase Ontario's rich talent, culture and diversity. Mr. Peterson has been nominated as the new Chair as Ontario begins to build excitement for the Games in communities all across the province.

Mr. Peterson will take over as Chair from Roger Garland, who has held the position since 2009. Mr. Garland worked tirelessly during his tenure, shepherding the largest multi-sport event ever to be hosted on Canadian soil. As he moves on to new opportunities, Mr. Garland leaves the new Chair with a strong foundation on which to host a successful Pan American and Parapan American Games in 2015.

The Games and Games-related investments will create more than 26,000 jobs and grow Ontario's real GDP by $3.7 billion from 2009 to 2017.

Supporting a memorable and successful 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games is part of the government's plan to showcase the province, while creating jobs and positioning Ontario as a sport tourism destination for years to come.

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Will 2015 Pan Am Games Mean Economic Gold for Toronto?

When it comes to major global sporting events, the cities hosting them often expect they’ll be the biggest winners, reaping the benefits of increased tourism, a high media profile and glittering new sports venues.

The reality can be much different.

The economic gold host cities vie for often doesn’t materialize, instead becoming a big debt it has to burden for years, if not decades.

It’s a story Canadians are familiar with.

While the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 1988 winter games in Calgary were reasonably successful for their host cities, Canada’s first brush with Olympic glory — the 1976 summer games in Montreal — resulted in debts that took 30 years to repay.

As Toronto prepares to host the Pan Am Games in 2015, a study from CIBC World Markets suggests the event is likely to provide a significant boon for the economy of Canada’s biggest city.

The Pan Am/Parapan Am Games may not command as high a profile as the Olympics, but, in terms of the number of athletes involved, it’s three times bigger than Vancouver’s Olympics and will be the largest “multi-sports” games ever held in Canada, CIBC says.

CIBC says the games will be a significant boon to Toronto, in part because of the city’s already-strong economic momentum, as well as a less risky approach to athletes’ accommodations.

The games will take place in 15 municipalities in southern Ontario, centered around Toronto. CIBC says the games are expected to create about 29,000 jobs.

Organizers are hoping for a bump up in tourism and related spending, after the event as well as during. But the track record for similar events is mixed, CIBC says.

“International visits to London, England actually fell during 2012’s Summer Olympics…garnering plenty of attention and also some ridicule from the international media,” CIBC says.

Although tourist spending did rise, the increase was very short-lived, it adds.

But Vancouver’s experience was better, with international tourist visits, hotel occupancy, and spending all spiking sharply. If Ontario saw a similar percentage boost from the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, international visitor numbers could rise by around 350,000, CIBC says.

On the accommodation front, Toronto appears to have learned some lessons from Vancouver, where the cost of the athletes’ village rose by 1 billion Canadian dollars ($ 970 million), the bank says.

Toronto required the private-sector players in the project to bring a higher amount of equity, and included other contractual details aimed at limiting the government’s risks.

The athletes’ village will be transformed into affordable housing, although the projects will be vulnerable to any downdraft in Toronto’s overheated housing market, CIBC says.

The bottom line for Toronto won’t be clear until after the games, and forecasting what the results of such events will be can be a risky business. Jean Drapeau, Montreal’s mayor at the time of its Olympics — which ultimately netted a C$1 billion debt — predicted that “the Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby.”

Edited by intoronto
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