TORONTO – Cleaning up after the Pan Am Games means dismantling bleachers, tearing down stages — and finding a new home for about 3,000 metric tonnes of sand.
When Games organizers built five beach volleyball courts in a downtown Toronto parking lot, they brought in about 80 truckloads of sand from Muskoka, Ont., especially configured for the sport, their supplier said.
Now that the Games are over, that sand has been carted more than 350 kilometres to a new volleyball training facility in North Bay, Ont., said Todd Knapton of Hutcheson Sand and Mixes.
It took three consecutive nights to haul the sand out of Exhibition Place — renamed Pan Am Park during the Games — and ship it to its destination, Knapton said. The work was done overnight to avoid disrupting traffic.
The granite-based sand is washed and sized to meet the standards established by the sport’s governing body, the International Volleyball Federation, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“It tends to stay loose, it won’t compact,” and drains at a specified rate when hit by rain, Knapton said. “The colour, for TV and so on, it doesn’t have a glare to it.”
More importantly, “it’s safe for the athletes,” he said.
The Hunstville, Ont.-based company has supplied sand for the 1999 Pan Am Games as well as Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.
Though it’s possible to ship sand overseas — they’ve sent some to Dubai in the past — sometimes the company just refurbishes a beach for competition or partners with a local business to make sand on site, Knapton said.
Making sand involves screening it to take out oversize grains and stones, then washing it down to different gradations, he said.
Transitioning from the Pan Am to the Parapan Am Games takes “one big choreographed set of efforts,” said Saad Rafi, CEO of the organizing committee.
“A lot of that material is rented, so those companies start to redeploy that material — fences, Jersey barriers and the like — to other projects,” he said.
Ten of the venues used in the Pan Am Games will serve for the Parapan Ams, along with two others, and Rafi said there will need to be adjustments.
Exhibition Place must also be cleared quickly to make way for the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, which is holding its marquee parade on Saturday.