The legacy of the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, which were held from 7-15 August continues at the University of Toronto Scarborough in Canada.
The state-of-the-art Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House was handed back by to the University of Toronto Scarborough and City of Toronto by the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organising Committee (TO2015).
Now known as the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, student athletes and Canada's top athletes will be able to swim in the same pool as Canada's most decorated Paralympic swimmer Benoit Huot at one of the world's newest and fastest pools.
The legacy of the Games is being seen at other new Toronto 2015 venues including the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University, which was handed back also in September. It was there where Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse thrilled spectators this summer with two gold-medal performances, including a Canadian record in the 200m sprint.
"We are proud to hand these brand-new sport facilities back to their communities," said Saad Rafi, Chief Executive Officer of TO2015. "Not only were they tremendous venues where athletes broke world records, won medals and the hearts of Canadians, they were designed with the future in mind – to serve the needs of their communities and Canadian high-performance athletes. That legacy continues today."
To mark the occasion, TO2015 handed over a ceremonial key to Bruce Kidd, vice-president, University of Toronto, and principal of University of Toronto Scarborough. This handover was the last of more than 30 Games competition venues that were handed back to their respective owners.
Funded by the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the University of Toronto Scarborough and its students, the Aquatics Centre and Field House was one of the largest investments ever made in amateur sport infrastructure in Canada.
The internationally sanctioned aquatics facility is also now home to the Wheelchair Basketball Canada National Academy, the world's first full-time, year-round, daily training environment for high-performance wheelchair basketball athletes and the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario, which provides world-leading sport science and sport performance services, such as coaching and training facilities for high-performance athletes.
The venue is also a transformational resource for the community and the University of Toronto Scarborough clubs, who have access to all areas of the facility for recreational use. It will serve as a catalyst for further development and opportunities in the area. Along with the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium and Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome, the Aquatics Centre and Field House is a recipient of funding from the Toronto 2015 Sport Legacy Fund. The CAD 70-million fund, jointly supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, was previously announced in November 2013.
Administered by the independent Toronto Foundation, the Legacy Fund will contribute annually to the ongoing operating and capital maintenance costs of the facilities for the next two decades, which will benefit their communities and Canadian high-performance athletes.
In addition, TO2015 has negotiated preferential and affordable access for Canadian high-performance athletes at new and upgraded venues that received capital funding for the Games, which is benefitting more than 20 national or provincial sport organisations.
"Our Government made a bid to host the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games for the many long-term benefits they would provide,” said Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. “The new facilities have increased access to sport and recreation for Ontarians of all abilities, and are providing opportunities for current and future athletes to reach the podium while training right here at home. The Sport Legacy Fund will ensure that these state-of-the-art facilities will continue to maintain their world-class status and increase sport hosting opportunities for years to come."