Toronto showcased to soccer elite as potential FIFA World Cup 2026 host

With the clock ticking down until the 2026 FIFA World Cup a few years away, Toronto was shown off to soccer elite on Monday as part of the latest push to host games in the massive 30-day global tournament.

Toronto is vying to be one of 16 cities taking part in a winning united North American bid with plans to have the games cycle from host venues in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

These host cities are still not decided, though just about every municipality on the continent wants the chance to be involved in hosting one of the most-watched sporting events, garnering the eyes of half the world's population in 2018.

As part of an in-depth review of host cities' venues, infrastructure, readiness, and capabilities, Mayor John Tory was joined by sports executives, business leaders, and other politicians on Monday afternoon to receive a visiting Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) delegation.

Led by FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani, the delegation was in town for a one-day evaluation visit, following visits to 21 other cities and 23 venues across the continent.

The brief tour included stops at BMO Field — the stadium's capacity expanding to over 45,000 as part of the bid as per FIFA regulations — as well as other city-owned assets that could be as used for venues for fan activations, training or events.

Plans to bring Toronto to the world stage of soccer have been in the works since 2014, when city council directed staff to consider opportunities to co-host major events with other cities, including the 2026 World Cup.

The next steps came four years later, when council authorized Toronto to be part of the joint North American bid.

"Today, along with all of our partners we had the opportunity to showcase our great city and all of the service we can provide FIFA, athletes, fans and other stakeholders if they choose Toronto as a host city," said Mayor John Tory on Monday.

"We have the capacity and facilities to create a unique and exciting event in 2026 and I know that our partners, city ambassadors and residents will play a key role in making this possible."

Four dozen teams will face off in what will be the largest FIFA World Cup ever in 2026.

 Though the exact tournament dates have not been announced, FIFA is expected to reveal the final host cities early next year, with city council to receive an update on the bid around the same time.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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