Posts Tagged ‘sports’
blogTO’s Chris Bateman this week engaged in a bit of alternate history in his post “How Toronto almost landed the 2008 Olympics”.
Toronto planned to build its Olympic stadium, aquatic centre, and athletes’ village in the west Port Lands, just north of the Shipping Channel. The velodrome and tennis facilities would be at Exhibition Place and a new plaza covering Lake Shore Blvd. would provide a direct link to Ontario Place.
The Air Canada Centre would host basketball and volleyball and baseball would be played in the SkyDome. A central meeting place at the base of the CN Tower called the Olympic Ring Central Plaza was also included on the plans that were unveiled in November, 1999.
[. . .]
In February 2001, as the final announcement drew near, an evaluation team from the International Olympic Committee visited Toronto for a round of final inspections. Desperate to make a good impression, the city cleaned up pollution-blackened snowbanks along the tour route and hurriedly swept the streets.
Still, the visit didn’t exactly go smoothly. 11 of the 17 IOC inspectors became trapped in a lift for more than an hour at the Park Hyatt hotel moments before they were due to deliver their findings.
[. . .]
And then there was Mel Lastman’s cannibal remark. In 2001, less than a month before the final vote, Lastman explained to reporters why he wasn’t keen to make a visit to Kenya to drum up support from African IOC delegates.
“What the hell do I want to go to a place like Mombasa,” he said. “I just see myself in a pot of boiling water with all these natives dancing around me.”
In Moscow with the rest of the Toronto 2008 team for the final announcement, Lastman formally apologized to Keba Mbaye, a Senegalese IOC vice president and the person in charge of tallying the final votes. Mbaye had earlier said he was offended by Lastman’s crass remarks.
Let’s say that Toronto has a mayor who acts more astutely, and the city lands the 2008 Olympics. What happens next? A big surge in debt can be counted upon, but I don’t think economic apocalypse would be likely. Perhaps the ongoing real estate boom might be fueled still further by the construction boom? What would be the impact on China of a loss of the Olympics?
This isn’t something that I think would necessarily have a huge effect, on Canada or China or the world. Am I wrong?
Sarah Duong at Torontoist reported, meanwhile, that a majority of Torontonians would like to their city to host the games.
A poll published yesterday by Forum Research shows that a majority of Torontonians approve of a potential bid for the city to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Among 755 respondents, 61 per cent approve the notion, 30 per cent disapprove, and 9 per cent are unsure or undecided.
The poll comes one day after the Pan Am Games closing ceremonies and a non-answer by Mayor John Tory on the subject.
“I just think today is not the day to answer that question. We should let things subside,” said Tory in an interview. “We’ve got to make sure we execute the Parapan Games as well as we did the Pan Am Games.”
But the time to think about an Olympic bid is now. With the September 15 deadline to submit bid cities fast approaching, many are fearful that Toronto will miss its chance to host the games. Having previously submitted applications to host the Olympics in the past, if a bid does indeed get pushed through, the 2024 games will represent Toronto’s sixth time vying for a chance to host the event (1960, 1964, 1976, 1996, and 2008).
NDP leader Tom Mulcair expressed cautious optimism about the bid, stating, “Having seen the fantastic success of the Pan Am Games, I’m optimistic that Toronto would be able to put together a bid for the 2024 Olympics. I think it has to be costed very carefully, having seen what’s happened in the cases of other Olympics in the past.”
I would like it if, as in Barcelona, the Olympics could be connected to a city-wide program for urban regeneration. If.
The Toronto Star‘s Paul McGran reports about Québec City’s latest bid to host a NHL team again. I approve: Winnipeg is another hockey city of similar size, and it has been supporting its revived Jets. Why can’t Québec City have the Nordiques again?
Quebec City officially wants back into the NHL while Las Vegas remains the odds-on favourite for an expansion team as the league’s deadline for downpayment from interested groups expired on Monday.
Groups from Toronto, Seattle and Portland were silent about their prospects. Investors with those groups might have been scared off by the $10 million (U.S.) downpayment — $2 million of it non-refundable — required to start the process.
The league is expected to have an announcement “later in the week” a source told the Star, and there remains a possibility that one more city — perhaps Seattle — may backdoor its way into the process.
Media giant Quebecor tweeted to confirm its bid and said a cheque had been given to the league on behalf of a city with an NHL-ready rink scheduled to open in September, the 18,259-capacity Videotron Arena.
“We confirm that we submitted our candidacy for the #NHL expansion process in order to bring the #Nordiques back to #Québec City,” read the company’s tweet.
A May report from Metro Toronto noted the lack of Portuguese-language signage at the Pan Am Games here in Toronto. The relevant Wikipedia page suggests that this is a matter of convrention, English and Spanish being the official languages of the Games to be joined by additional local languages. (This explains the presence of French.)
Even so, this does not seem justifiable. Portuguese is spoken only in one country of the Americas, true, but there are two hundred million people in Brazil! More, Toronto is itself hardly without speakers of the language. I took this picture of a sign at Duffering station, the TTC station located on the street that is a historical anchor for Toronto’s Portguese-speaking communities. Rules are rules, but sometimes rules are pointless.