Toronto’s Economic Development Committee has voted unanimously in favour of deferring a bid for the 2024 Olympics indefinitely.
The decision didn’t come as a surprise given the exorbitant cost associated with such an event.
Hosting the Summer Games could cost up to $6.9 billion, Ernst & Young said in a feasibility report for the committee on both the 2024 Olympics and 2025 World Expo.
A whopping 74 per cent of 2,399 people polled by CityNews in an unscientific poll said no to the Olympic bid and many on social media rejected the idea too.
Michael Thompson, the chair of the economic development committee, said “I’m certainly not prepared to actually mortgage the future of Torontonians.”
Mayor Rob Ford said both bids for the Olympics and the World Expo should be shelved indefinitely.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said Monday that “now is not the right time” to consider an Olympic bid. In a statement, Kelly said the city should focus on the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games.
Premier Kathleen Wynne also said she wouldn’t weigh in on the Olympic bid, saying she was “focused with laser-like determination on the Pan Am Games.”
If Toronto were to bid on the 2024 games, city officials have had to let the International Olympic Committee (IOC) know by the fall of 2014. The formal bidding process begins in 2015. Click here to read the motion.
While the Olympics would have put a huge international spotlight on Toronto, the report prepared by Ernst & Young for the committee cautioned that the Games would come at a great cost.
The report also argued that not only would Toronto’s businesses boom with new jobs and investment, it would also increase tourism and bring more focus to the cultural sector.
The next stage of consulting alone would cost $1 million, Ernst & Young warned, and a formal bid could have cost in the range of $50 million to $60 million.
Bringing the Games to Toronto would cost $3.3 billion to $6.9 billion, the report said.
There are also several American cities that are considering a bid for 2024, including Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the games in 2016. Toronto made unsuccessful bids for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics.
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2025 World Expo
The committee voted on Monday to “receive as information” a report on the feasibility of hosting the 2025 World Expo.
While the Expo don’t have quite the same recognition as the Olympics, the Ernst & Young report said the event could spur investment in infrastructure and development, specifically in the Port Lands area.
The Expo would also reinforce Toronto’s “reputation as a major arts and culture hub both in Canada and around the world.”
Like the Olympics, there are high costs associated with hosting the Expo.
The Ernst & Young report said the next stage of consulting would cost $1 million, and the cost of a formal bid could range from $10 million to $15 million.
Hosting the Expo could cost in the range of $1 billion to $3 billion, which would need to be borne by one or more of the three orders of government.
That could pose another hurdle: Canada is planning to withdraw from the International Expo Organization – the governing body – by the end of this year. That could jeopardize any plans to host the fair.
Click here to read the motion.
Both items will be considered by city council on Feb. 19.
Toronto is currently preparing to host the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. The upcoming Games have a budget of $1.4 billion. The plan for that event includes 11 municipalities and three universities hosting 36 sports.