My Evolving Thoughts on the Pan Am Games

In early June, I wrote that I was still completely underwhelmed by the Pan Am Games. Now that they're finally here, it's time for an update.

I attended a couple of torch relay celebrations over the past week. Here's something I wrote about seeing Natalie Spooner light the cauldron in southwest Toronto. I'll admit it, attending the three hour party really warmed me to the spirit.

Then, on Friday, I rode to Queen's Quay and watched another torch relay. That night, I tuned into the opening ceremonies from the venue formerly known as Skydome and was thoroughly impressed. It closed with a spectacular fireworks display from the CN Tower.

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By this point, I was into the Pan Am Games. My kids saw diving at the new CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House and loved it. I'm following the results, watching when I can, and feeling the spirit.

Torontonians love to complain about traffic and I've got friends hoping these Pan Am Games are a colossal failure. I've decided to join the party and embrace the event. It's more fun this way.


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Comments (22 - click here to join in!)

Steve

I like sports a ton. But I will be watching the pros play while the B Teamers are playing their games.

If the top players on the Men's Basketball, Women's Soccer, Sprinters etc. can't be bothered to come, then neither can I.

July 12, 2015 @ 11:59 AM

Steve

I like sports a ton. But I will be watching the pros play while the B Teamers are playing their games.

If the top players on the Men's Basketball, Women's Soccer, Sprinters etc. can't be bothered to come, then neither can I.

July 12, 2015 @ 11:59 AM

Slim Pickins

I challenge anyone without an assist from Google to name one starter from the USA men's basketball team or name anyone from the Canadian Men's swim team.
Country's are not taking the games seriously.
So from someone who's daily life has been disrupted and who will be paying for these games for years (through disguised Provincial taxes) i say
Why should i care?

July 12, 2015 @ 2:17 PM

dale

I'm on the fence with these games. My country is participating in GTA & so far so good.
All countries top athletes are not attending as they see this as a 2nd class competition.
Many athletes are at Pan Ams trying to qualify for the next Olympics.
I didn't think Opening ceremonies was really anything special other than Andrew Wiggins Mom who competed in the Olympics on relay team many years ago handing off the torch to her son Andrew. That was the touching moment for me.

Good luck to ALL participants as I will be only watching when nothing else to do.


July 12, 2015 @ 3:17 PM

Gary

Most countries sent a handful of athletes and it just seems that for the amount of money spent on these games...it just wasn't worth it.

July 12, 2015 @ 8:32 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Gary

There are 7,000 athletes from 41 nations. Most countries sent far more than a handful.

July 12, 2015 @ 8:35 PM

YES

Like Mickey Jones of The Monkees said about the Beatles: 'In a world of 'No's' They were so many
'Yes's.'

Wishing those 7,000 athletes from 41 countries an absolute blast and everybody attending events (sadly not me) as well.

July 12, 2015 @ 10:05 PM

Gump

Love the positivity Mike!
As I get older I tire of the negativity I see everywhere. That's why I come here ... to see some positive messages about Toronto.

July 12, 2015 @ 11:30 PM

J9

Yesterday, we drove to the Lakeshore GO line and took the GO for free to Exhibition to watch the afternoon Rugby 7's events. Taking the GO was the better way for sure! And the rugby matches did not disappoint nor did Team Canada. Fantastic day and amazing results.

We also took in diving on Saturday, drove to U of T Scarborough, plenty of parking to be had. We have tickets for tennis later this week as well.

My one negative comment at this point is that the concession stands cannot keep up. Running out of essentials (beer! food!) 3/4 of the way through the event is not fun. And hardly any vegetarian options at the Exhibition Stadium - really, is it that hard to offer non-meat entrees?

July 13, 2015 @ 6:42 AM

Argie

I love sports and I always cheer for Canada - regardless as to the event or the importance of it. That said life's too short to waste it watching these B level games during the summer.

I mean 24 medals for Canada so far - after 2 days. Seriously? Women's rugby for chissakes.

July 13, 2015 @ 10:13 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I certainly don't recommend staying inside to watch, but yesterday, after a full day outdoors with the family, I enjoyed the diving event in which we won gold and silver.

It's not the Olympics, but it's here and I'm making the most of it. The athletes are giving their all for the home crowd and there's a cool vibe in the city.

July 13, 2015 @ 10:15 AM

James Edgar

Good For you Mike.

As has been said the negativity around the games is getting tedious.

I'm not going to make any of the events as it stands now but I'm cheering for Canada and i really do hope that the games are a success.

July 13, 2015 @ 11:36 AM

Hector

I will apologize in advance but this is really a waste of money. A LOT of money. I am not being negative. I am being a realist. The only reason I see that Toronto is even hosting these games is to take a shot at the Olympics. A few big egos has cost us Billions.

Again, I apologize but this is how I feel.

July 13, 2015 @ 1:37 PM

J.R.

Good call Mike, I went with my son down to Nathan Phillips Square and was pleasantly surprised with all the activity and the set up. Some great live music at night with a good buzz in the air. Looking forward to Aug 8th when the Roots take the stage.

July 13, 2015 @ 3:45 PM

andrew

When our top Canadians in rowing in previous Olympics win only Silver & Bronze in Pan Ams & 1 of them was the flag bearer for Canada. Go figure.
2nd or 3rd class competition but still a Canadian & all the best to them.


July 13, 2015 @ 7:37 PM

Anonymous

I saw the Brazilian cycling team twice on Saturday down on the Martin Goodman Trail. First, downtown then again around Norris St. in the west. I'm assuming that was there turn around point. Nice to see them leisurely practicing on our trails and enjoying the city.

July 14, 2015 @ 12:07 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I saw the Mexican cycling team yesterday on Lake Shore just west of Royal York. Very cool.

July 14, 2015 @ 6:45 AM

Stewart

Watched the Rugby 7s on Sunday at BMO field. It was an amazing atmosphere. 18,000 people - so it was a good turnout.

$40 for 4.5 hours of rugby - well worth the price. Very glad we went.

Canada played extremely well, the women had no competition - they are ranked 2nd in the world . Very exciting mens matches - USA and then Argentina.

July 14, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Stewart

Watched the Rugby 7s on Sunday at BMO field. It was an amazing atmosphere. 18,000 people - so it was a good turnout.

$40 for 4.5 hours of rugby - well worth the price. Very glad we went.

Canada played extremely well, the women had no competition - they are ranked 2nd in the world . Very exciting mens matches - USA and then Argentina.

July 14, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Daniel

I love sports but I have never ever been supportive of governments using public money for a 3-4 week event that is proven to have negligible financial impact when we need funds for serious infrastructure issues.

I don't wish negative on all the athletes but if these games are considered even a reasonable success our idiot governments are going to push for the olympics where we will again divert significant dollars in order to build a bunch of structures which will never be used. and overbuild structures for pointless lavishness (ie you build a 20k capacity pool in 1 spot when you could have built 5 pools all over the city)

So I want the pan am games to be a failure, because I want us to never again inefficiently spending my tax dollars on a 3 week event

July 14, 2015 @ 10:54 AM

Tron

I am totally into the Pan Am games. For all the people who says it's "Not the Olympics" of course it's not. It also not the Olympic price tag, or Olympic headaches, or Olympic size stadiums or Olympic ticket prices.

As for the "I only want the see Olympics" I will ask this? Do you only want to see top 10 bands at stadium settings or do you not also get some joy discovering a great indy band. Some times a live theatre off Broadway is better value than the big Broadway production. Do you only want to see the current blockbuster new release, because TIFF has a very great appeal of finding a hidden gem before everybody jumps on the bandwagon of the wide release Oscar buzz.

I think it's always cool to discover something before it hits "mainstream" so thinking that any of these Pan Am athletes might be big time Olympians in a next Olympics and seeing them in a live and intimate setting. I think that's really cool. Personally as a Toronto sports fan, I'd rather spend my money on these guys than the Jays choking away another season or the Leafs playing half assed.

I am a big fan and supporter of sports. We all complain that society is getting fatter and lazier. Not every kid going to love one of the "big 4" sports. So if an Olympic/Pan-Am sport catches their eye and they get into. That's a huge positive.

July 15, 2015 @ 6:42 PM

Roshan

I think having any kind of games / sporting events are good for a city/nation especially if it is international. It also inspires a generation of new athletes.

July 20, 2015 @ 1:07 AM

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