As the world spotlight shines on London, there’s renewed buzz about whether Toronto should take a run at the 2024 Olympic Games.
In June, Toronto city council voted to request a report from city staff on pursuing the 2024 Games. It will also be studying whether Toronto should bid for the 2025 World Expo. The report is expected next March.
Toronto made unsuccessful bids for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics. However, Toronto was successful in its bid for the 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games – set to take over the city in exactly three years from now.
At least two Toronto city councillors are questioning the cost-benefit equation of hosting the Olympic Games.
Coun. James Pasternak told the Toronto Sun that the financial “hangover” rarely justifies the 17-day event, pointing out that Beijing’s national stadium sits abandoned and is a drain on public funds.
Atlanta has reportedly not realized a post-Olympic benefit, and it took Montreal up to 30 years to pay off its $1.5-billion debt incurred in 1976.
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti pointed out that it would be impossible to host the event with the current uncertainty around transit plans.
Meanwhile, Counc. Denzil Minnan-Wong is bullish on the event:
“If I had to choose, there’s no question: The Olympics. It’s the most important global event a city can host: The economic benefits. The job creation. The buzz it would give the city. And the infrastructure that would be left would be amazing,” according to a story in the Toronto Star.
The Summer Games underway right now in London reportedly cost upwards of $14 billion.
“I think that’s a great move,” London mayor Boris Johnson told The Canadian Press earlier this year.
“Go for it, Toronto. You won’t regret it if you get it.”
Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam pitched the idea of studying the pros and cons of holding the 2025 World Expo in the GTA. Councillors Denzil Minnan-Wong and Michael Thompson added to the proposal by asking also for a report on the feasibility of hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics.