The countdown to the Toronto Pan American Games is on! The world’s third largest international multi-sport competition will take place from 10th – 26th July (Pan Am Games) and 7th -15th August (Parapan Am Games) when 7,600 top athletes from 41 countries in the Americas and Caribbean will compete in Toronto and surrounding municipalities. Here’s everything you need to know to get in on the action at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Kick starting the programme is the 41-day TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay. The torch relay began when the Pan Am flame was lit during a traditional Aztec ceremony at the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico. In Canada, the journey continues as 3,000 torchbearers carry the flame across the nation, finally arriving in Toronto on 10th July to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the TO2015 Pan Am Games. The relay is an opportunity to join in 180 celebrations taking place along the torch’s route. In Toronto, watch for a special Pan Am Path Art Relay merging sport and the power of art in a living collection of art installations, music and dance.
Once the Pan Am Games begin, this massive multi-sports event will be bigger than imagined, surpassed in size and scope only by the Olympic Summer Games and the Asian Games. Athletes will compete in 36 Pan Am sports and 15 Parapan Am sports such as archery, cycling, swimming, equestrian jumping, shooting and wrestling at 30 venues including 10 brand-new facilities such as the CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre, the largest sports facility of its kind in Canadian history.
Don’t have a ticket yet? Official sales and resale channels for the Parapan Am and Pan Am Games in Toronto are listed at www.TORONTO2015.org/tickets, with many tickets priced at $45 or less. You can also watch the competitions on giant screens from public viewing areas at Nathan Phillips Square, the CIBC Pan Am Park and the Distillery District – all free and open to the general public. At the CIBC Pan Am Park, be sure to check out the 4,283 gold, silver and copper (bronze) competition medals on display at the Royal Canadian Mint exhibition space. Christi Belcourt, one of Canada’s top Metis artists, created the unique design.
But the TO2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games are more than a mega sports event. Soak up some culture during PANAMANIA, an arts festival showcasing the diversity of the Pan Am nations with 1,300 artists performing in 250 free and ticketed music, theatre and dance events from 10th July - 15th August. Headliners include Grammy, Latin Grammy and Juno award-winning artists such as Colin James (Canada), Lila Downs (Mexico), Calle 13 (Puerto Rico), Luciano (Jamaica) and more.
And food fans won’t miss out on the excitement either. A top Toronto summer event wouldn’t be complete without a fantastic culinary celebration. During the PanAmerican Food Festival, you can indulge in authentic Latin cuisine such as spicy chicken empanadas, sizzling fajitas and icy helados during this multi-day extravaganza packed with food vendors, cooking competitions and live demos by celebrity chefs.
Don’t worry about getting stuck in traffic jams during the games. Getting around will be easy as tickets include access to TTC transportation to Pan Am sports venues on day of competition. To make things even easier, there’s also the new Union Pearson Express, a sleek high-speed rail link connecting Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson Airport with Union Station in the heart of Toronto in just 25 minutes. At the downtown Skywalk station, travellers can sample artisanal coffee from Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, sip a craft beer from Mill St. Brewery and enjoy handy connections to TTC, GO Transit and Via Rail. With departures every 15 minutes, you can chill out on board with WiFi, flight information screens, power outlets, spacious luggage racks and panoramic skyline views.
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Written by Michele Peterson