pan am games toronto

New York Times skewers Toronto over Pan Am apathy

Toronto's lack of excitement over the Pan Am Games is the subject of a recently published New York Times article that characterizes the city as indifferent or apathetic, depending on which version of the headline you trust (the former word replaced the latter at some point online, though it's still preserved in the url).

"Some residents are annoyed by how much the city has spent to get ready -- the total budget is 2.5 billion Canadian dollars, or about $2 billion -- and others by the risk of snarled streets," writes the Times Canadian correspondent Ian Austen.

"But many seem to be reacting to the arrival of the event in their city this week the way they would to a new tattoo discovered the morning after a wild night. The Pan-Am Games have landed in Toronto, it seems, with a thud."

Austen searches for the source of Toronto's apparent indifference to the Games, and eventually lands on the idea that even organizers view them as merely a precursor to the Olympics.

"Canada is a country where winter sports predominate, and the Pan Am Games have never been of immense interest, not even when they were held in Canada in 1967 and 1999," he writes. "Toronto's bid to host this year's games seemed to have more to do with trying to lure the Summer Olympics than with any interest in uniting the Americas through sports."

That may be true, but I suspect it's a bit more nuanced than that. In Toronto's fierce desire to be a world class city, the Pan Am Games are viewed as a consolation prize to previous unsuccessful Olympic bids. Throw in some dubious marketing and a city that loves to complain, and you have the cool reception we've seen to the arrival of the Games.

Why do you think Toronto lacks excitement for the Pan Am Games?

Photo by jmaxtours in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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