A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘sports

[URBAN NOTE] “Budget committee says ‘meh’ to Olympic bid”

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The Toronto Star‘s Betsy Powell writes about how the City of Toronto’s budget committee is unexcited by the idea of Toronto bidding for the 2024 Olympics.

Not a single member of the city’s powerful budget committee is endorsing Toronto entering the race to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Toronto has only a slim chance of submitting a winning bid, and even if the cash-strapped city is selected, the Olympics could prove to be financial boondoggle for years to come, councillors said after the committee met Monday to begin discussions on the city’s 2016 budget.

Several councillors said an outright no to a bid, while budget chief Gary Crawford and Councillor James Pasternak said they’d only consider Toronto advancing a bid if the cost — estimated at between $50 million and $60 million — is paid for by the private sector.

Toronto is under pressure if it wants to try to secure the 2024 Olympics, an idea that appeared to gain traction after the success of the recent Pan Am Games, the largest sporting event in Canadian history. Los Angeles is poised to enter the contest — its city council is expected to vote Tuesday — and is considered a frontrunner. LA2024 has already released a copy of its bid.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 1, 2015 at 1:42 am

[URBAN NOTE] “The Sochi Syndrome”

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Anar Valiyev and Natalie Koch at Open Democracy describe how international sporting events like last year’s Sochi Olympics are used for multiple, self-propagandizing, purposes by authoritarian elites.

‘Urban boosterism’ is defined as the active promotion of a city, and it typically involves large-scale urban development schemes—constructing iconic new buildings, revamping local infrastructure, and creating a new image for the city.

For long a popular tactic of free market liberals, used to justify speculative building, the logic of urban boosterism hinges on freedom of movement of both capital and individuals. Curiously, though, it is increasingly at work in settings less committed to such freedoms. Urban planners in authoritarian countries are increasingly seeking to create new images for their cities and states through grandiose urban development and the hosting of major international spectacles, such as World Fairs, Olympic Games or the World Cup.

As citizens and their leaders in liberal democracies grow increasingly fatigued by—and intolerant of—the skyrocketing expense of hosting such spectacles, leaders in non-democracies have been quick to pick up the slack and are beginning to win first-tier event bids (like the 2008 Beijing Olympics; the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Russia’s 2018 World Cup; and Qatar’s 2022 World Cup). While urban boosterism in liberal democratic settings is also used to solidify the position of ‘growth machine’ elites, the unprecedented $51 billion price tag for Russia’s Olympic Games in Sochi shows that resource-rich, non-democratic states are positioned to develop such projects on a dramatically larger scale.

[. . .]

The ‘Sochi syndrome’ is a sign of what we can expect as more and more non-democratic, illiberal states host these events, as illustrated by the cases of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.

According to Freedom House, in its classification system, these rank among the world’s least free countries. Boosterist agendas in Baku, Astana, and Ashgabat serve two related purposes—to distribute financial and political patronage, and to promote a positive image of the state for both international and domestic consumption.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 27, 2015 at 7:41 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Torontoist on the departure of Pachi and the cost of the 2024 Olympics

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Torontoist’s David Hains linked to the enigmatic final photo of Pachi, Pan Am/Parapan mascot, on his Instagram feed. He then posted an analysis of the Olympics, money-wise: At an estimated cost of $13 billion, what could Olympics funds pay for locally? Quite a lot, it turns out.

•Fund TCHC capital repair backlog over next 10 years to keep units in good standing ($2.6 billion).
•Build the Downtown Relief Line from Union to Don Mills (Over $4 billion).
•Build the full Waterfront LRT ($600—$900 million, depending on alignment).
•Fund Lower Don flood protection and area improvements, thus unlocking billions in real estate value (Over $900 million).
•Eliminate the TTC’s unfunded state of good repair backlog [PDF], including 372 subway cars, 201 Wheel Trans buses, 99 new buses, 66 new LRVs, subway and surface track maintenance, meeting the TTC accessibility requirement by the provincially mandated deadline in 2025, and more ($2.3 billion).
•A $400,000 condo for every homeless person in Toronto ($2 billion).
•20 new full-service community centres ($590 million).
•20 new libraries ($170 million).

(Why don’t we just pay for that? Indeed, why not.)

Written by Randy McDonald

August 21, 2015 at 10:27 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Union Station’s old GO concourse is going to be under construction for the next two years.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to papers on hunting for large-scale artifacts like Dyson spheres, searches for signatures of self-destructive civilizations, and speculation on how to discover Kardashev III civilizations.
  • Languages of the World reports on Google’s ability to translate Russian sentences.
  • Language Log reports on one woman who can correlate the languages she reads in and the content to her health.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the importance of Confederate memorials.
  • Marginal Revolution discusses the stagnation of the economy of Japan.
  • Savage Minds reports on an anthropology conference in Papua New Guinea.
  • Transit Toronto describes how this summer’s adaptation of transit to the Pan Am/Parapan games is fading out.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes how a ridiculous lawsuit intended to make Yelp pay contributors was dismissed.
  • The Way The Future Blogs reports that Frederik Pohl’s Gateway series is being adapted to television.
  • Why I Love Toronto reports on local Toronto-area craftsmakers.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia’s economic decline is leading to dropping numbers of Muslim pilgrims, and looks at the relationship between Russia and the Donbas republics.

[PHOTO] Pachi the Pan Am Porcupine, at Yonge and Dundas

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Pachi in the rain #toronto #yongeanddundas #pachi #panamgames

Pachi the Porcupine, official mascot of the Pan Am and Parapan Games, remained poised at Yonge and Dundas. The mascot’s genesis was described, if perhaps harshly, by Torontoist’s Will Sloan.

Who the hell is PACHI? This is the question that your humble correspondent asked when he first saw the smiling porcupine’s effigy atop a bus stop at Yonge and Dundas. “Meet PACHI!” said an accompanying sign, which explained that he was this year’s Pan Am mascot and encouraged us to tweet selfies at #HostCity. It’s also a question you may have asked if you’ve seen him at the many parades, community centres, and ribfests he’s visited in our fair province these past few months.

[. . .]

PACHI was birthed by a group of Grade 8 students from a school in Markham, who entered their design into the TORONTO 2015 Mascot Creation Challenge as part of their phys-ed class. However, like Poochie, the ill-fated third wheel of The Itchy and Scratchy Show, he seems as if he were created out of pie charts and focus groups by a team of marketing gurus. Like a Canadian cinematic blockbuster of the Passchendaele or Men with Brooms variety, PACHI feels like an attempt to create a facsimile of an American product (in this case, a loveable anthropomorphized animal).

CBC’s take is more neutral.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Bad Astronomy shares a new photo of the area of the Vela supernova.
  • blogTO notes Toronto has only one more month in which it can lodge its 2024 Olympics bid.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the apparent discovery of an exoplanet orbiting Canopus.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is against Heinz.
  • Discover‘s Seriously Science notes Internet search engine rankings can swing elections.
  • Towleroad continues reporting over the Stonewall controversy.
  • Window on Eurasia speculates as to reasons for Putin’s escalation of fighting in Ukraine.

[PHOTO] Playing the game, on Tichester Street in Toronto

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Playing the game #toronto #sports #football #stclairwest

I was exiting the northern exit of the St. Clair West subway station on Tichester Road/Heath Street when I saw a team playing on the field in late evening. A later googling brought up the below photo from 1974, revealing that even before this space became a high-end sports field for St. Michael’s College School–I think–it was still used. Continuity impresses me.

Vacant land used as playground, Heath Street West, south side

Written by Randy McDonald

August 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm


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