One year from today, the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games will come to a close. If projections are accurate, the Games will bring 250,000 visitors to Ontario, $3.7 billion in new economic activity, and result in an expected 26,000 new jobs.
Despite their proximity, very few Ontarians appreciate the scale of the Games, the largest multi-sport event in Canada’s history. In terms of athlete participation, the Games will be three times larger than the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. More than 10,000 athletes, coaches, and officials will participate.
Even fewer Ontarians appreciate the impact of the Games. They will have a huge impact on Ontario’s economy, generating 250,000 new visitors to the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) and 26,000 new jobs. Yet the scope of the Games extends well beyond its events. If successfully executed, they will bring about long-term and sustainable benefits for the provincial economy and Ontario businesses. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and our members are supportive of the Games and are excited by the opportunities they will bring to Ontario.
While the Games are likely to provide a short-term boon to our economy, the lasting impact is much less clear.
In order to secure a positive legacy for Ontario and the GTHA, the Province should continue to work with its partners to lay the groundwork over the coming year. The Province has so far made excellent progress on a number of fronts: it has invested in major infrastructure projects across the GTHA; trade shows are being organized; businesses, including SMEs, have been engaged in the business opportunities presented by the Games. But there is more to be done.
Our latest report, Beneath the Surface, identifies the crucial steps that governments and the private sector must take in order to ensure that the 2015 Toronto Pan Am and Parapan American Games leave a positive, lasting economic legacy in Ontario.