York signs letter of intent regarding 2015 Pan Am Games

York University, already a venue for tennis at the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, is in discussions with organizers regarding the construction of a stadium on its Keele campus that would host track & field events during the Games.

The University has signed a letter of intent with the Pan/Parapan American Games organizing committee to negotiate an agreement for the construction of a facility that would meet International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards, and, following the Games, would be available for use by the University and surrounding communities. The letter of intent also indicates that the Pan Am Games organizing committee and the University may discuss hosting additional events on York’s Keele campus.

Right: Logo of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

“We are thrilled about this development, as it is a tremendous opportunity for York University, as well as the broader community,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, York University president & vice-chancellor. “In pursuing these discussions, the University will be guided by a clear set of principles, including alignment with the University’s future needs and the efficient use of its land, and the needs of our community neighbours.”

Jennifer Myers, director of Sport & Recreation, believes this is significant for both York and the Greater Toronto Area.

“Sports programming and facilities really have the power to transform the student experience,” she said. “The possibility of a track and field facility at York’s Keele campus also represents a major opportunity to build a greater connection to communities with whom we already partner. There are endless possibilities here.”

Bill Hatanaka, chairman & CEO of TD Waterhouse, a York alumnus and former student athlete, noted that a new stadium would be a significant and positive addition to the university’s sport offerings.

“Such a facility would be a tremendous boost to student athletes at York. It would help York to develop its athletic and recreational programming, while providing a world-class facility for York’s athletes,” he said.

With the TTC’s Spadina-York U subway extension projected for completion in 2015, the University will become an important hub for the region, with an on-campus subway station that would provide access to these new and enhanced facilities.

Bud Purves, president of the York University Development Corporation, has championed the Keele campus as ideally positioned to support the elements of such a world-class facility.

“The chance for York to make a site available for this project is entirely consistent with existing master plan concepts for the Keele campus. It could fit very nicely with the new TTC subway access, a necessary complement to this venture,” said Purves. “With tennis events already confirmed to take place at the Rexall Centre, it simply makes sense, from the standpoint of efficiency, to look at hosting other events here,” he said.

Guy Burry, chair of the York University Alumni Association, commented that hosting these games would boost the student experience at York while calling to attention the other amazing things happening at the University.

“Our being a venue for the games would put York in the spotlight. It would raise our profile and our ability to attract the best of the best in every arena. It has the potential to improve the experience of York for the entire community,” he said.

Shoukri added, “I am confident that our community and its many partners will embrace this remarkable new phase in York’s development with the open-mindedness and enthusiasm I have witnessed so often at this University. With the support of our community and our partners, the future is truly exciting.”