2015 Pan American Games

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XVII Pan American Games
2015 Pan American Games logo.svg
Host city Toronto
Country Canada
Motto United we play
Nations participating 41
Athletes participating 6,135 (quota limit)
Events 364 in 36 sports
Opening ceremony July 10
Closing ceremony July 26
Officially opened by Governor General David Johnston
Main venue Pan Am Ceremonies Venue
2011 2019  >

The 2015 Pan American Games, officially the XVII Pan American Games or the 17th Pan American Games, is a major international multi-sport event that is scheduled to be held from July 10–26, 2015, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with some events held in seventeen other Golden Horseshoe communities. Approximately 6,135 athletes from 41 nations are expected to participate in 36 sports.[1] The first event, water polo, will begin three days earlier, on July 7.[2] A record of 45% of competitors are expected to be women, the most ever for any multi-sport event.[3] Both the Pan American and Parapan American Games are being organized by the Toronto 2015 Organizing Committee (TO2015). The 2015 Pan American Games will become the third Pan American Games hosted by Canada and the first by the province of Ontario. Previously, Canada hosted the 1967 Pan American Games and the 1999 Pan American Games, both in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 2015 Parapan American Games will be held twelve days after the Pan American Games.

Following Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) tradition, then-Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford and Canadian Minister for Sport Bal Gosal received the Pan American Sports Organization flag during the closing ceremony of the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.[4]

The 2015 Pan American Games will become the first completely ecologically friendly games, being fully carbon neutral.[5] The Games will also be the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in Canada in terms of athletes competing,[6] double that of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Bidding process[edit]

Toronto was selected by the Canadian Olympic Committee as the official bid city from Canada for the 2015 Pan American Games

The Canadian Olympic Committee chose Toronto and the surrounding region as the Canadian candidate. No other Canadian city was given a chance to bid in a domestic race, and thus Toronto was selected without a vote.[7] Toronto's interest in bidding came after failing to land the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Summer Olympics, which were held in Atlanta and Beijing respectively.

On February 23, 2009, both Toronto City Council and Hamilton City Council approved the bid officially and confirmed their intentions to support the successful hosting of the event.[8] The official bid book document was submitted to the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) on May 27, 2009.[9]

PASO made an evaluation visit to Toronto between August 30 and 31, 2009. The team analysed the candidate city features and provided its feedback back to voting members of PASO. The evaluation committee was headed by Julio Maglione, a member of the IOC representing Uruguay and the head of Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), the international swimming federation. After the visit Maglione said, "Toronto has all the conditions to play host to the Pan American Games".[10]

Toronto won the bidding process to host the Pan and Parapan American Games by a vote of the Pan American Sports Organization on November 6, 2009, at the PASO Session held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The result was announced by PASO President Mario Vázquez Raña.[11] Toronto faced two other finalists shortlisted Lima, Peru, and Bogotá, Colombia. Toronto earned 33 votes, while contesting candidate cities Lima and Bogotá received 11 and 7 votes, respectively.[12]

2015 Pan American Games bidding results
City NOC Round 1
Toronto  Canada 33
Lima  Peru 11
Bogotá  Colombia 7

Development and preparation[edit]


Rogers Centre will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

The 2015 Pan American Games used a mixture of new venues, existing and temporary facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Exhibition Place. After the Games, some of the new facilities will be reused in their games time form, while others will be resized. A total of 30 competition venues across 14 municipalities were used for competition. Ten of these venues were newly built, while fifteen were renovated to stage the games.[13]

Toronto will become one of the most populous cities in history to hold the Pan American Games. In July, Toronto has an average mean temperature of 22.3 °C (72.1 °F) and afternoon maximum average of 26.6 °C (79.9 °F) The average humidity is 74%, and the city (downtown area) averages five days with the temperature exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) and about 65 millimetres (2.6 in) of precipitation, mostly brief periods of showers and sometimes thunderstorms. Toronto's elevation is 112 m (367 ft 5 12 in) above sea level.[14]

In January 2012, the Toronto Organizing Committee for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games (TO2015) announced that sixty percent of the originally proposed venues would be dropped, in favour of a clustering system seen at other multi-sport events such as the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom.[15]

BMO Field (Exhibition Stadium for the games) will stage the rugby sevens competition

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Rogers Centre, which will be referred to during the Games as the "Pan-Am Ceremonies Venue" due to sponsorship rules. Some of the competition venues in the Toronto area include BMO Field, the Pan Am / Parapan Am Fields, the Direct Energy Centre and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Competition venues outside the city of Toronto include Tim Hortons Field, Hershey Centre, Markham Pan Am Centre in Markham, the General Motors Centre in Oshawa, and the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course in St. Catharines.[13]


The Toronto 2015 Organizing Committee, along with all three jurisdictions of government, will spend about CA$672 million in upgrading and building new venues in the region.[16] An additional CA$760 million will be spent in operating expenses such as venue management and marketing.[16] The Canadian federal government is providing CA$500 million in funding for the games, while the City of Toronto’s contribution is CA$86 million. Other municipalities which are hosting sporting events are covering CA$205 million of the costs. All remaining costs will be covered by the Government of Ontario. Revenue from the games will cover ten percent of the cost to stage the games.[17] The organizing committee expects to generate CA$172 million in revenue. In addition, CA$709 million will be spent on building an athletes' village in the West Don Lands area of Toronto. A further CA$239 million will be spent on security, while transportation costs will cost around CA$90 million.[18] In 2014 the Ontario government provided an additional CA$74 million dollars to expand the torch relay, provide additional live broadcasting of events among other things.[17] Therefore, the total spent will be CA$2.57 billion, the highest ever spent for a Pan American Games.[17]


The Union Pearson Express
Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes were installed on Toronto's Don Valley Parkway for the Pan Am Games
See also: Pan Am Path

The Union Pearson Express, an airport rail link from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Union Station, began construction in 2011 and started full time service on June 6, 2015.[19] The games created a deadline for a project that had been stalled for years.[20] In addition, a new GO Transit train station in Hamilton at James Street North will open in time for the games.[21]

In October 2013, an expansion of the Pan Am site was announced to help complete 250 kilometres (160 mi) in gaps in Ontario's Trans Canada Trail and connect communities from Ottawa to Windsor and Fort Erie to Huntsville in time for the games. Connections to the Waterfront Trail were expected to be expanded and complete gaps in the trail. Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne announced "The province is investing more than $3.5 million in Pan Am/Parapan Am Trails to help create a continuous trail of more than 2,000 kilometres."[22]

Athlete's Village[edit]

The 2015 Pan American Games Athlete's Village in January 2015

The Athlete's Village will be located in the West Don Lands along Front Street between Bayview Avenue and Cherry Street. It will have the capacity to hold 10,000 athletes and officials during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and after the games will be converted into housing. The development will be certified LEED Gold.[23]


The organization committee expects 20,000 volunteers will be required for Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.[24]


Ticket sales started in September 2014. The Games expect to have 1.4 million tickets for sale, with over 75% of them priced under $45. The first tranche of tickets was to be allocated via a lottery system.[25][26]


Countdown clock in Nathan Phillips Square

The one-year countdown took place in Toronto on July 10, 2014 in which a countdown clock was unveiled. A Cirque du Soleil performance was also held.[27]


The competition medals for the games

In October 2013 it was announced that the medals for the games would be produced and designed by the Royal Canadian Mint.[28] In September 2014 it was announced that the supplier of the raw minerals used in the medals (over 4,000 in total) would be Barrick Gold. All the materials used in the medals will come from the company's operations in the Pan American region.[29] The copper was mined at the company's Zaldivar mine in Chile, the silver at the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic and the gold was mined at the Hemlo mine in Ontario.[30]

The designs of the medals were revealed on March 3, 2015 at a ceremony at the Royal Ontario Museum. The design of the medals for the first time in an international able-bodied multi-sport event will include braille. The medals are roughly 86.7 millimetres in diameter and weigh about 350 grams.[31] The artist of the medals is Christi Belcourt. There are three shapes on the front of the medal representing North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and South America, the three regions that will be competing at the games, while also giving a feel and texture of the medal podium. The back of the medal represents the logo and motto of the games and the design also includes elements and techniques of mokume-gane.[32][33]

Torch relay[edit]

An application period for Canadians to carry the torch opened in October 2014 and continued till December. Anyone aged 13 or older as of May 30, 2015 was eligible to become a torchbearer. Most of the torchbearers were selected by a random selection, while the others were selected by torch relay communities and games partners.[34]

The torch will take a 41-day journey after being lit in May 2015 at the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico. The torch will be brought through a total of 130 communities, mostly in Ontario (with five outside the province, Richmond, Winnipeg, Calgary, Halifax and Montreal). The torch will be carried by about 3,000 torchbearers and travel approximately 20,000 kilometres (12,000 mi).[35] The relay began on May 30, 2015 in Toronto and finishes on July 10, the date of the opening ceremony.[36]

The detailed torch relay route and celebration sites were announced on February 24, 2015.[35] The torch will arrive in Toronto and then head to Thunder Bay, before visiting all other communities on the route. The relay will also visit five National Historic Sites of Canada, six Canadian Forces bases and one provincial park. There will also be 180 celebrations across the torch relay route.[37][38]

The Games[edit]

Opening ceremony[edit]

The opening ceremony of the 2015 Pan American Games is scheduled to take place on Friday July 10, 2015, beginning at 6:45 p.m. EDT (22:45 UTC) at the Pan Am Ceremonies Venue.[39] The opening ceremony will be produced and directed by Cirque du Soleil.[40] The production will become the largest event produced by the company.[41]

Governor General David Johnston will officially open the games.[42]

Closing ceremony[edit]

The closing ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday July 26, 2015, beginning at 6:45 p.m. EDT (22:45 UTC) at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.[39] The closing ceremony will be produced and directed jointly by B5C Productions, BaAM Productions and FiveCurrents.[43]

Participating nations[edit]

All 41 nations of PASO are expected to compete. This represents a drop of one from the 2011 Pan American Games, as the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee was dissolved in 2011.[44] The numbers in parenthesis represents the number of participants qualified.


A total of 36 sports, 51 disciplines and 364 medal events will be contested at the games.[47] Basque pelota is the only sport dropped from the last games.[48] Golf (after being added to the Olympic program for 2016) will be making its Pan American Games debut.[48] Canoe slalom, the only Olympic discipline to never have been held at the Games, will also make its debut, meaning for the first time ever the entire Olympic sports program will be contested.[48][49] Furthermore, both canoe disciplines will have C-1 events for women for the first time ever.[49] Women's baseball and women's rugby sevens will also make their debuts, with men's softball returning to the program, after last being contested in 2003.[26][50][51] A total of 19 sports (which represents the largest ever amount) will be direct or indirect (such as opportunities to gain qualification times) qualifiers for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[3]

Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of medal events to be contested in each sport/discipline.


In the following calendar of events, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport are held. The number in each box represents the number of finals that will be contested on that day. Events will begin three days before the opening ceremony on July 7 and end with the closing ceremony on July 26.[52]

OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals CC Closing ceremony
July 7
Ceremonies OC CC
Archery 2 2 4
Athletics 1 2 9 8 8 10 8 1 47
Badminton 2 3 5
Baseball 1 1 2
Basketball 1 1 2
Beach volleyball 2 2
Bowling 2 2 4
Boxing 6 7 13
Canoeing 1 1 5 6 5 18
Cycling 2 2 3 2 2 3 2 2 18
Diving 2 2 4 8
Equestrian 1 1 2 1 1 6
Fencing 2 2 2 2 2 2 12
Field hockey 1 1 2
Football 1 1 2
Golf 3 3
Gymnastics 1 1 2 5 5 2 5 3 24
Handball 1 1 2
Judo 3 3 4 4 14
Karate 3 3 4 10
Modern pentathlon 1 1 2
Racquetball 4 2 6
Roller sports 4 4 8
Rowing 4 5 5 14
Rugby sevens 2 2
Sailing 5 5 10
Shooting 2 3 1 2 1 2 2 2 15
Softball 1 1 2
Squash 2 2 2 6
Swimming 1 1 6 7 5 8 6 34
Synchronized swimming 2 2
Table tennis 2 2 4
Taekwondo 2 2 2 2 8
Tennis 3 2 5
Triathlon 1 1 2
Volleyball 1 1 2
Water polo 1 1 2
Water skiing 3 6 9
Weightlifting 3 3 3 3 3 15
Wrestling 4 5 5 4 18
Total events 16 23 31 34 32 19 21 26 31 8 17 17 22 27 33 7 364
Cumulative total 16 39 70 104 136 155 176 202 233 241 258 275 297 324 357 364 N/A
July 7

Medal count[edit]

      Host nation (Canada)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Canada (CAN) 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0



The Direct Energy Centre, will serve as the official International Broadcasting Centre

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) will serve as both the host and domestic broadcaster of the 2015 Pan Am Games; locally, CBC will produce coverage in both the English and French languages. CBC plans to carry 650 hours worth of coverage via digital platforms, while on weekdays, CBC Television will carry three daily blocks of coverage in the afternoon, primetime, and late night hours, totalling five hours per day. CBC Radio will provide updates throughout the Games.[53][54] Pay television rights were sub-licensed to Sportsnet, who will carry coverage of the soccer tournament and encores of CBC coverage. Spanish language rights were sub-licensed to Telelatino and Univision Canada; the broadcaster will also collaborate with US Spanish-language rights-holder ESPN Deportes on its own coverage.[55][53][56][57]

In the United States, ESPN will hold broadcast rights, with 80 hours of English-language coverage across ESPN and ESPN2, and 200 hours of full Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes.[58] Rede Record acquired rights in Brazil, paying a record US$30 million.[59][60] Other broadcasting deals include Torneos y Competencias sports in Argentina, Claro Sports in Mexico and Latina Televisión in Peru.[61]

The Direct Energy Centre will serve as the official International Broadcasting Centre and Main Press Centre. The centre will consist of broadcast studios, control rooms, editing suites, offices and lounge space. During the games, the Centre will bear the name of sponsors Cisco Systems.[62]



The original bid logo for the games
TORONTO 2015 Official Store at the Toronto Eaton Centre

Toronto's bid logo was launched on October 2, 2008, with the then Toronto mayor David Miller and then head of the organizing committee David Peterson unveiling the logo to the public. The bid logo looks like an abstract maple leaf with three sections, each section made up of two strokes in the shape of a "v" with a spot in the centre. The colours are green, red and blue. This was the official logo of the games until 2010 when the new logo was launched.[63]

On September 29, 2010, the official logo of the games was unveiled at a street party at Maple Leaf Square.[64] According to Ian Troop, the former chief executive officer of Toronto 2015 organizing committee, the logo is designed on the basis of the different art styles seen throughout the 41 countries that compete at the games.[64]

The colours in the logo are green, blue and orange. The logo has three distinct shapes each with one of the three colours. The bottom two represent a “T and O” which represents the city in which the games will be held, Toronto. The year 2015 is written inside the letters.[65]


Pachi the Porcupine

In January 2013 it was announced that a contest would determine the mascot of the games. Children under the age of 16 had until March 8, 2013 to submit their ideas.[66] 4,000 ideas and drawings were submitted to the organizing committee during this time frame.[67] In April 2013, a shortlist of six mascot designs (which were produced by professional graphic designers, with the sketches by the children as models) were released, including a raccoon, beaver, moose, two pixie creature twins, porcupine and an owl.[68] The final six were selected based on originality, how well they represent Canadian culture and the branding of the Games, and the appeal they had amongst adults and children.[67] On April 22, 2013 the general public was allowed to vote for the mascot they felt was the best. Voting was open until May 5, 2013.[67]

On July 17, 2013 Pachi the Porcupine was revealed as the official mascot of the games at an unveiling at the CBC Building.[69] The mascot received over 33,000 votes from the nationwide vote.[69] The winning design was submitted by four grade eight students at a school in Markham.[69] The name Pachi means clapping with joy in Japanese, while the 41 quills the porcupine has represents the 41 participating countries at the games.[70]


Private sponsors currently include Chevrolet Canada.[71] Another sponsorship deal with CAA South Central Ontario originally announced in January 2014 was subsequently terminated in May.[71][72]

Premier and lead partners[edit]

Official suppliers[edit]

Concerns and controversies[edit]


The aquatics events at the 2015 Pan American Games are scheduled to be held roughly around the same time as the 2015 World Aquatics Championships scheduled in Kazan, Russia. The Organizing Committee's goal is to have the best athletes competing at the Games and thus the schedule for the five aquatics disciplines had to be changed to accommodate athletes. The synchronized swimming competition actually was moved to the day before the opening ceremony, diving events begin on the day of the opening ceremony (when events are traditionally not held on the day of the ceremony), open water swimming was moved to the first weekend of the games, swimming was reduced to a five-day schedule (down from seven in 2011), and water polo competitions began three days before the opening ceremony. All events are scheduled to be completed by July 24, six days before the opening ceremonies of the World Championships, which in itself was moved back a week to accommodate the games. The change in schedule meant that for the first time ever, events were held before the opening ceremony.[73][74]

Other events will be impacted include the women's football event, which holds its World Cup and ends the Sunday before the opening ceremony. Teams that are competing in both tournaments are expected to field teams that are not at full strength, due to the proximity of both tournaments.[75] Toronto and Hamilton decided not to bid to host matches during the said World Cup due to a potential conflict with the Games.[76]

The 2015 World Archery Championships were scheduled later in July, to not conflict with the games, while the 2015 World Fencing Championships, which will finish the day before the fencing competitions begin, will have events coordinated to allow athletes to compete at both events. Finally the second round of the 2015 Davis Cup was moved ahead one week to not conflict with the tennis competitions. Tennis competitions will also begin before the opening ceremony, to allow athletes to compete in both events.[3][77]

The volleyball tournaments and the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and the FIVB Volleyball World League will be played at roughly the same time, leading to a scheduling conflict for teams playing both events.[3]

The 2015 edition of the Honda Indy Toronto auto race, held traditionally in mid-July at a street circuit in Exhibition Place, has been moved to June to avoid conflicting with the games.[78]

Expenses claims[edit]

In September 2013, it was reported that many senior members of the organizing committee, including then CEO Ian Troop, expensed Ontario taxpayers for things such as a cup of tea. This led to outrage among provincial politicians including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, "I'm just going to say it's ridiculous. It is the kind of entitlement that is unacceptable".[79] In response to the backlash the organization released an updated expenses and travel policy in November 2013.[80] In December 2013 the CEO Ian Troop was ousted by the organization's board of directors, just three months after the expense scandal came into light.[81] He was replaced by Saad Rafi.[81] In 2014 more expenses by the organization came under scrutiny including boxes of South American Wine.[82]

In 2015 Ian Troop the former CEO gave an interview in which he stated that organizers cleared him from any wrongdoing, and that all expenses fell under the organization's policy. Troop also mentioned under his leadership the organization saved CA$50 million from the capital infrastructure budget. Troop's firing ultimately had nothing to do with the expenses scandal that arose in 2013.[83]

Executive compensation and bonuses[edit]

The games organizing committee has come under scrutiny for the high compensation and bonus packages its executive team has been awarded.[84] Under Ontario's Salary Disclosure rules, any provincial employee receiving over CA$100,000 in compensation will have their salary publicly disclosed. In 2012, it was revealed that former CEO Ian Troop made CA$552,065, with several other senior staff making between CA$100,000 and CA$400,000. Additionally, in 2013 it was revealed that as part of his compensation package, Troop would be eligible for a CA$780,000 bonus at the end of his contract, if the games had finished successfully. Other executives are eligible for bonuses of up to 100% of their salaries upon completion of their contract.[85] In 2015, it was revealed that Troop's replacement, Saad Rafi, would receive a bonus of 100% of his CA$428,794 salary upon completion of his contract.[86]


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