Ten reasons why the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games will be brilliant!

IPC Director of Media and Communications Craig Spence explains why he believes the 2015 Parapan American Games will be the best ever. 16 Mar 2015
A view of the skyline of Toronto featuring tall buildings and the CN Tower.

The skyline of Toronto, the city which will stage the 2015 Parapan American Games.

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By Craig Spence, IPC Media and Communications Director

In terms of changing attitudes towards people with an impairment, the Americas Paralympic Committee believe the Games can have a similar impact on Canada and the Americas as the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

1. Record number of athletes and countries

Around 1,600 athletes from 28 countries are set to compete in Toronto which is a new record. In Guadalajara, Mexico, four years ago 1,300 athletes from 26 countries took part in 13 sports.

2. All sports are Rio 2016 qualifiers

Toronto 2015 will play host to a record number of sports and tension levels are expected to reach new highs. For the first time, all 15 sports are qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

3. Strongest teams ever

Because all sports are Rio 2016 qualifiers many countries are planning to send their best athletes. Brazil topped the medals table in 2011 and announced that Daniel Dias, a winner of a record 11 gold medals in 2011, will headline their swimming team.

Hosts Canada, who are targeting a top three finish, will send their elite squad whilst neighbours the USA are likely to send their strongest ever line-up.

4. Superb venues

A number of new venues have sprung up around the city providing world class accessible sporting facilities to the whole region.

The largest new-build is the CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House which will host the swimming and sitting volleyball competitions this August. It boasts two internationally sanctioned 10-lane, 50-metre pools, a dive tank, flexible gymnasium space for training and competition, as well as an indoor recreational track and fitness area.

One of the best venues is the Abilities Centre in Whitby which, in terms of accessibility, is not just one of the best in Canada, but in the whole world. During the Parapan American Games it will stage boccia and judo.

The new CISCO Milton Pan Am / Parapan Am Velodrome is one of only two UCI approved facilities in the whole of North America.

5. Fully accessible Athletes’ Village

The Athletes’ Village boasts one of the most spectacular views of any Games ever held with Toronto’s iconic skyline, dominated by the CN Tower, looking equally as impressive in daylight as in darkness.

The Village, which is a short walk from Lake Ontario, is state-of-the-art and benefits from superb accessibility which will make it easy for athletes and residents post Games to get around.

6. Lasting legacy

All venues have been built with legacy in mind and will greatly benefit Canadian sport and the local communities they serve for future generations.

The Canadian Sport of Institute of Ontario (CSIO) has relocated its head office to the CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House, whilst Cycling Canada and Cycling Ontario have already taken up residence at the CISCO Milton Pan Am / Parapan Am Velodrome.

Away from the sporting venues, the Athletes’ Village will become a mixed-use neighbourhood with affordable housing, new condominiums, a YMCA and a dormitory for George Brown College students.

In terms of changing attitudes towards people with an impairment, the Americas Paralympic Committee believe the Games can have a similar impact on Canada and the Americas as the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

7. Best prepared Organising Committee

The Organising Committee really get what para-sport is all about and this is reflected in all their planning, implementation and attention to detail ahead of August’s Games.

All venues are accessible, accessible transport will be provided to get from venue to venue, the medals feature braille for the first time and the #AreYouReady promotional video for the Games is outstanding!

At the final meeting to review preparations for the Games, Jose Luis Campo, President of the Americas Paralympic Committee said Toronto 2015 is in “fantastic shape and the best prepared city yet” with five months to go.

8. Spectacular city

Canada’s most populous city with around 2.6 million people sits on the shore of Lake Ontario and is a superb destination to visit even when not hosting the Parapan American Games. Home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and the headquarters of Canada’s five biggest banks, the city boasts a number of stunning high rise buildings.

The one structure that stands out above the rest however is the CN Tower which, at 553.33m high, is the world’s third tallest tower and signature of Toronto’s iconic skyline.

9. Outstanding tourist destinations

Not far from Toronto are a number of world class and world renowned tourist destinations. The best by some distance are the spectacular Niagara Falls which are located about 90 minutes’ drive away. The falls are huge and around 110 million litres of water cascade over them every single minute – that’s the equivalent of 44 Olympic sized swimming pools!

10. Tickets on-sale 23 March

Tickets for the 2015 Toronto Parapan American Games go on-sale on 23 March and are reasonably priced for the whole family from CAD 20 to CAD 35 with half-price tickets for people under 16 and over 65.

Craig Spence is the IPC's Director of Media and Communications.

You can follow him on Twitter @craigspence

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