Four Reasons Why the Pan Am Games Won't Suck
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Four Reasons Why the Pan Am Games Won’t Suck

With 50 days left before the Games, we reflect on reasons to be optimistic for the athletic extravaganza.

Photo of Pan Am countdown "Play Me I'm Yours" project by Bruce K from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo of Pan Am countdown “Play Me I’m Yours” project by Bruce K from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

The mere mention of the upcoming Pan Am Games has the power to elicit a very special kind of groan from…well, almost everyone who lives downtown. Tourists! Traffic! Years of never-ending construction on legacy projects we probably wouldn’t get it together to build otherwise! Yeah, we hear you. But, contrarians that we are here at Torontoist, we’re not convinced the Games will be that bad. In fact, we’re–bear with us–even kind of excited about them.

As we mark 50 days until the Games begin, we’d like to offer up a few suggestions for why the sporting event seen by some as Olympics Lite (rude!) will definitely be alright.

Cheap Sports
Instead of sighing at the mention of the estimated 10,000 athletes and officials from across the Americas that the Pan Am Games will bring to the city, consider that those elite athletes will be playing sports you can actually watch. Live. In person. Haven’t you ever wanted to see a top-level bowler in the flesh? Plus, tickets are affordable. As a Pan Am representative put it to us: “You’d be crazy not to take advantage and see a sport when so many tickets are 20 bucks!” Case closed.

Top-Notch Music
Do you know Calle 13? They’re a Puerto Rican hip-hop duo who have basically reinvented the boundaries of the genre for Latino and non-Latino listeners alike. They are one of the most exciting musical groups working today, full stop, and they are playing in Toronto for free during the Pan Am Games. The group is one of over 130 acts from across the Americas performing nightly between July 10 to 26, and again between August 7 to 12, for the Games’ Panamania arts festival. This is a chance to discover some of the most popular and groundbreaking culture the world has to offer. It’s not just reason to be enthusiastic, but just cause for straight-up giddiness.

Pan Am Path Art Relay
In case you haven’t heard, the city’s getting an 84-kilometre multi-use recreational trail thanks to the Games. Which, yeah, yay, cool. But equally excitingly, all summer there will be free weekly arts festivals at various stops along the path, hosted by community arts organizations from each representative area. For many of these organizations, this summer will mark their first interactions with each other–as in, the forging of actual, literal community connections.

Athletes Everywhere
Remember when we said there would be roughly 10,000 athletes hanging out in our city for a few weeks? That’s a lot of impressive jocks. Basically, we will be in the presence of greatness and it will almost certainly feel cool.