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2024 Olympics: John Tory confirms Toronto won't enter a bid

2024 Olympics: John Tory confirms Toronto won't enter a bid

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 15, 2015

Toronto won't enter a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Mayor John Tory confirmed this morning.

Tory would have had to submit a letter of intent to the International Olympic Committee by today to preserve the city's attempt to win the Games. Making a bid, which would have cost millions, would have needed the approval of city council.

Speaking at a Tuesday morning news conference, Tory said Toronto would benefit from hosting an Olympic Games, but now is not the right time for a city with pressing infrastructure and transit needs.

"Toronto can be an Olympic city and already is a world-class city," he said. "I'm not saying no to the Olympics. I'm saying not this time.

"I believe that Toronto will be a great venue for the Olympics but not in 2024."

Tory said he will create a panel to advise Toronto on bidding for future major events. There was strong support by city hall for an Olympic bid after the Pan Ams, but that momentum dwindled in recent weeks, with the City of Mississauga voting against supporting a bid and multiple Toronto councillors criticizing the idea.

To discuss the idea, Tory met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, as well as with business, union and youth leaders. When asked about it Monday, Wynne expressed concern about the cost of both bidding and hosting a Games.

"Ontario is not going to put itself forward and be on the hook for all of the cost, so that's one of the questions," she said.

Rahul Bhardwaj, who was vice-president of Toronto's 2008 Olympic bid, said Tory didn't have enough time to build the kind of consensus and line up money from senior governments needed to make a bid.

"It was a short time frame to really evaluate this," said Bhardwaj on CBC Radio's Metro Morning show Tuesday, a few hours ahead of Tory's announcement. "If you're keen on having the Games, you're going to have to get your ducks lined up, and that takes support from the province and the federal government, and in the midst of a [federal] election, I think it would be tough to get those pieces teed up." 

Will Tory look into other bids?

Dean Rivando is a city council liaison for NoTO2024, an organization against a Toronto bid. He said Tory didn't have a mandate to spend the public money needed to make a bid that could have failed.  

"I think he realized that he didn't have the support on council, he didn't really have public support and he didn't have a mandate," said Rivando. "He didn't campaign on this, neither did any of the councillors."

Toronto unsuccessfully bid for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics, and Tory has said he didn't want to lead a third failed attempt.

Janice Forsyth, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at Western University in London, Ont., said keeping details of the consultations under wraps undermined support for a possible bid. Many councillors complained about the secrecy surrounding the decision to submit a bid.

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