Toronto will not bid for 2024 Olympics

The Rogers Centre, Toronto
The Rogers Centre, Toronto
The Rogers Centre, Toronto

Canada will have to wait a little while longer before looking to host another Olympic Games, possibly until 2036.

Standing on the roof of the Nathan Phillips Square snack bar, Toronto’s mayor John Tory announced Tuesday morning that the city will not submit a bid for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. The recent Pan American Games reinvigorated a hope in some, but certainly not all, that the city could put together a strong bid to host the world’s most prestigious sporting event.

“One day Toronto will be a great venue,” said Tory, but noted it will not be in 2024. “We have to aspire to great things.”

Many suspect the next opportunity Toronto, or any Canadian city, will have to realistically host the Games may not come until 2036. The IOC tends to select cities on a rotating basis based on which continent they are located on. Los Angeles will be bidding this time around and is a strong candidate. If that city is selected it would serve a major blow to the bids of other North American cities until the quadrennial Games have circled the globe again.

The last time the Games were hosted in North America was in 1996. The 2000 Games were hosted in Sydney, 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London. The 2016 Games will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro.

The mayor said he recognizes the Games can be a catalyst to other infrastructure issues the city is plagued with–transit, congestion and affordable housing being the forefront— but says the city “can and will address these things without seeking and Olympics at this time.”

“This is a city I believe is capable of putting on any international competition it wants,” said Tory, “but we want to do it properly and do it the Toronto way,” referring to the short time span between the conclusion of the Pan Am Games and the deadline to submit an intention to bid.

The mayor said he will form an advisory group to deal with future bidding for world-class events such as Olympics, World Cups and World Expos. The advisory group will be to determine why and if the city should submit bids for events.

Tory noted he made his final decision in the eleventh hour, late Monday afternoon, the day before the deadline set by the International Olympic Committee, to announce an intention to bid. The mayor said in a press conference in the past week he spoke with, among many others, the leaders of the three major political parties and the IOC.

He told reporters the ongoing federal election campaign did not play a major role in his decision, as at this point it’s impossible to know which party will form a government after the Oct. 19 election date.