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‘Not this time’: Toronto Mayor John Tory won’t bid on 2024 Olympics


Toronto Mayor John Tory says he’s not saying no to an Olympic bid forever, but it won’t happen in 2024.

Tory — as expected — announced Tuesday morning that Toronto will not submit a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. But there’s no reason Canada’s largest city can’t explore making a future bid when the timing makes more sense, he added.

“I believe that one day Toronto will be a great venue for the Olympic Games, but not in 2024,” said Tory at a news conference held at Nathan Phillips Square outside city hall. “Time was against us in building the kind of support you have to have from the community in order for this to work.

“I am not saying no to the Olympics. I am saying not this time.”

The timing Tory referred to was caused in part by a sudden, and somewhat unexpected, groundswell of support for an Olympic bid that grew during Toronto’s successful hosting of this summer’s Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Those games wrapped in mid-August, leaving little time to muster support and answer all the questions about funding and infrastructure in time for today’s deadline to submit a letter announcing Toronto’s intention to bid.

Tory also admitted that assembling support from senior governments was complicated with the country in the midst of a federal election.

“We were quite a bit behind,” said Tory. “No one was rushing forward with their chequebooks”

Tory said he will create a panel to advise Toronto on bidding for future major events, including another summer or winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup or a world expo.

Tory said he consulted widely before making his decision to not submit a bid and said the Pan Am success proves Toronto can host other major events.

Marcel Aubut, president of Canadian Olympic Committee, said he accepts Tory’s decision.

“We remain optimistic Toronto could and should host the Olympic Games in the future,” he said in a statement issued moments after Tory’s news conference.

Some bid supporters were hoping a winning bid could help Toronto access funding to address the city’s significant infrastructure and transit needs.

Tory, however, said the Games shouldn’t be used as a tool to loosen funding for things the city needs.

“We have to invest in making sure this city works for everyone,” he said. “Making that investment happen shouldn’t be contingent on a vote of the International Olympic Committee. It should happen because it is the right thing to do.”

Speaking before Tuesday’s announcement, 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. “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.”

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.?

Among cities in line to try to host the 2024 Games are:

  • Los Angeles.
  • Paris.
  • Rome.
  • Budapest.
  • Hamburg.

The winner will be selected in 2017.

A municipal study previously estimated bidding alone would have cost between $ 50 million and $ 60 million, and hosting the Games would cost between $ 3.3 billion and $ 7 billion.

You can follow the latest developments in our Scribble blog, posted below. Mobile users, follow the live blog here.

CBC | Sports News