Sprinters, shot-putters and wheelchair racers will go for gold in front of thousands of fans at a brand-new athletics stadium at York University during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, organizers announced Monday.
The stadium, which will be known as the CIBC Pan Am and Parapan Am Athletics Stadium during the games, is located adjacent to the city-operated Toronto Track & Field Centre. It will officially open in July 2014, one year before the largest games Canada has ever hosted arrive on the University’s Keele campus.
“York University is pleased to be a part of the TORONTO 2015 Games,” said York University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “This new state-of-the-art athletics stadium will enhance the experience not only for our students and athletes, but will also create a lasting legacy for community members for years to come.”
“Our local schools, like the Shoreham Junior Public School and other local schools, will be able to benefit from these much-needed facilities enabling our institution to be a partner in helping to build healthy and active communities,” said Shoukri.
The stadium will build on the world-class athletics infrastructure already present at York University, including the Toronto Track & Field Centre, which will serve as an athlete training and warm-up facility during the games. The city of Toronto is replacing the centre’s indoor and outdoor tracks in time for the games, as well as those at Birchmount Stadium and Centennial Park Stadium.
Several Canadian Olympians have trained at the Toronto Track & Field Centre, including 2008 bronze medal-winning hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and sprinter Justyn Warner, a member of the men’s 4 by 100-metre relay team at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Paralympic athlete Josh Cassidy and Warner served as the event’s emcees.
“In 2015, York University’s new stadium will be abuzz with excitement as spectators cheer on some of the world’s top athletes to achieve spectacular triumphs,” said Roger Garland, chair of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee.
“This stadium is a great way to ensure York students, the community and high-performance athletes have access to much needed recreation, training and competition facilities,” he added.
The fully accessible stadium is designed for certification by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a Class 1 track suitable for hosting Olympic and other top-tier competitions.
It will have a 400-metre track and an infield that supports throwing and jumping disciplines, as well as a scoreboard, professional broadcast capabilities, athlete change rooms, equipment storage, classroom space, as well as permanent seating for 3,000 spectators with an additional 2,000 temporary seats. Seating for 12,500 spectators will be available.
Spectators in the grandstand will have an unobstructed view of the field of play, as well as the natural landscape of the campus’s protected Boyer Woodlot.
The overall project costs for the athletics stadium are anticipated to come in at $45.5 million, which includes $34.9 million to design, build and finance the project. The remainder is comprised of capital expenditures for equipment, transaction fees, project management, and other ancillary costs. The project is on budget and construction is underway.
“The Harper Government’s investment in the 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games will ensure that our athletes train and compete in state-of-the-art facilities during the Games and beyond,” said Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal at Monday’s announcement. “Today’s announcement will play a key role in boosting the Greater Toronto Area’s reputation as an international hotspot for sport, while also leaving behind a lasting legacy in community recreation.”
“This is a great day for York University and the Greater Toronto Area,” said MP Mark Adler (York Centre). “In addition to hosting a series of events during the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games, these venues will continue to serve local families in our community. We look forward to welcoming the Americas to Canada in only a few short years, as well as to the economic boost it will bring to our region, province, and country for years to come.”
“The McGuinty government’s support for the People’s Games will benefit the community in significant ways,” said MPP Michael Chan, the Province of Ontario’s minister responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. “This new facility will provide our athletes, students and residents a place to train and compete at home and an opportunity to shine on the World Stage during the 2015 Games.”
Posing with the York mascots are, from left, MP Mark Adler (York Centre), Paralympic athlete Josh Cassidy, Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gosal, Olympic sprinter Justyn Warner, York’s President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri
Earlier this fall, Infrastructure Ontario awarded the contract for the athletics stadium to Ontario Sports Solutions (ONSS) through a public tendering process. The consortium consists of developers and constructors Bouygues Building Canada Inc. and Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., as well as the design team of Cannon Design, FaulknerBrowns Architects, Arup and Morrison Hershfield.
ONSS is also responsible for the Milton Pan Am and Parapan Am Velodrome, Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium and track resurfacing at three City of Toronto sport facilities.
“Toronto is gearing up to be the best Host City ever for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games,” said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. “York University is one of several games venues in our city and we look forward to welcoming athletes to our great training venues throughout the city at the Toronto Track and Field Centre, Birchmount Stadium and Centennial Park.”
“These games will be an enormous opportunity for Canada, for Ontario and for the Greater Toronto Area,” said Jon Hountalas, executive vice-president, Business Banking, CIBC. “CIBC is proud to associate our brand with another key games venue that will be enjoyed by York students and the whole community for years to come.”