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Question for UTers: Should Toronto bid for the 2024 Olympics?

Should Toronto bid on the 2024 Olympics?

  • Absolutely Yes - I've made up my mind

    Votes: 24 29.6%
  • Leaning Yes - but I'm keeping an open mind

    Votes: 17 21.0%
  • On the Fence / No Opinion / Indifferent

    Votes: 6 7.4%
  • Leaning No - but I'm keeping an open mind

    Votes: 15 18.5%
  • Absolutely No - I've made up my mind

    Votes: 19 23.5%

  • Total voters
    81
  • Poll closed .

animatronic

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So there's a lively discussion in the 2024 Olympic Bid thread on whether Toronto should jump into the race. Opinions range from "The Olympics will solve all our problems and put a unicorn in every home" to "The Olympics will bankrupt the country and turn Toronto into a toxic wasteland of abandoned buildings and killer ferris wheels", with everything in between.

Given that one public poll shows 61% approval for the games and that UTers have a stronger view on civic issues than the average bear, it would be interesting to see where the community sits at this point in time.

If you feel like it please add your rationale below but let's try to keep the debate to the main thread.

Thanks!
 

mistercorporate

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Most people who are against the games in a city like Toronto have only a token understanding of the costs and factors involved. As someone who is quite fiscally conservative and has also researched this topic to death (spent years on the various Olympic forums among other things) I can state categorically they would be a surefire gamechanger for this city's longterm tourism, culture, sense of identity, swagger, infrastructure, public realm (short-term tourism may have only moderate effects) and would really put us on the map for a cost that can be managed comfortably if we play it smart. Even without Agenda 2020 we could still keep the Games staging costs including infrastructure costs to significantly less than $10 billion (including federal/provincial contributions). The cost to bid can be completely covered by sponsors so that in itself should not even be an issue.
 

animatronic

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Most people who are against the games in a city like Toronto have only a token understanding of the costs and factors involved. As someone who is quite fiscally conservative and has also researched this topic to death (spent years on the various Olympic forums among other things) I can state categorically they would be a surefire gamechanger for this city's longterm tourism, culture, sense of identity, swagger, infrastructure, public realm (short-term tourism may have only moderate effects) and would really put us on the map for a cost that can be managed comfortably if we play it smart. Even without Agenda 2020 we could still keep the Games staging costs including infrastructure costs to significantly less than $10 billion (including federal/provincial contributions). The cost to bid can be completely covered by sponsors so that in itself should not even be an issue.
Is that satire?
 

Tewder

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Good idea Animatronic but play fairly, you asked for rationale only, to keep the debate and commentary to the olympics thread.

The benefits, long term and short, will far outweigh any negative costs/wasteful spending (and yes there will be some). If these games are leveraged for long-stalled, past-due and politically vulnerable infrastructure, revitalization and beautification investments - with the sort of committed and firm timeline underwriting these games demand - then I'd gladly pay these costs, in part because:

1. The opportunity cost of funding these games will not be assumed exclusively by Toronto, it is spread across the province and the nation. Toronto has long been overlooked by upper levels of government for the investments it needs, for the investments all of our major cities need if they are going to remain competitive on the international stage.

2. The opportunity 'benefit' isn't Toronto's either, which is to say that the funding that would have come to Toronto from the province and the federal government for infrastructure etc. will not come to Toronto without the games. It is an earmarked injected expenditure. Use it or lose it.

3. There are many examples of cities that have leveraged the olympics successfully and I fail to see why Toronto wouldn't be among them. If anything, the trend is moving towards more responsible games and our experience with the Panams leaves me even more confident this would be the case.

4. This will provide a major cultural, tourist and economic boost to the city. As a relatively unknown major city Toronto is well positioned to capitalize on this, to spread its brand and generate greater global interest... and it'll be fun.

5. The panams were just a taste... I want more.
 

agoraflaneur

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Good idea Animatronic but play fairly, you asked for rationale only, to keep the debate and commentary to the olympics thread.

The benefits, long term and short, will far outweigh any negative costs/wasteful spending (and yes there will be some). If these games are leveraged for long-stalled, past-due and politically vulnerable infrastructure, revitalization and beautification investments - with the sort of committed and firm timeline underwriting these games demand - then I'd gladly pay these costs, in part because:

1. The opportunity cost of funding these games will not be assumed exclusively by Toronto, it is spread across the province and the nation. Toronto has long been overlooked by upper levels of government for the investments it needs, for the investments all of our major cities need if they are going to remain competitive on the international stage.

2. The opportunity 'benefit' isn't Toronto's either, which is to say that the funding that would have come to Toronto from the province and the federal government for infrastructure etc. will not come to Toronto without the games. It is an earmarked injected expenditure. Use it or lose it.

3. There are many examples of cities that have leveraged the olympics successfully and I fail to see why Toronto wouldn't be among them. If anything, the trend is moving towards more responsible games and our experience with the Panams leaves me even more confident this would be the case.

4. This will provide a major cultural, tourist and economic boost to the city. As a relatively unknown major city Toronto is well positioned to capitalize on this, to spread its brand and generate greater global interest... and it'll be fun.

5. The panams were just a taste... I want more.
Good points. I myself am on the fence but am skeptical, and leaning toward the no side. I wouldn't mind discussing each of these points.

1. As long as we don't chip in too much for the bid (which I'm told by the Globe and Mail costs roughly 60m, I would be more supportive of a bid.

2. Now this is where the make or break argument comes. I personally think sports are an awful waste of money. But if we get infrastructure dollars that we would not have gotten, I would be willing to lean yes. I do believe the federal government might provide funds that we wouldn't have seen otherwise; the province, on the other hand, will be hard pressed to fund more than their already ambitious infrastructure plan. I could see money getting shifted around, and I am afraid that real infrastructure (like transportation) would actually suffer from splashy projects completed for the games. The city will never increase taxes for the games, so I don't see how we will be getting the municipal portion, except, as I said, by shifting priorities and taking away from real issues like housing and transportation. If we have to contribute to huge projects like an Olympic-sized stadium or smaller venue, we will also have to deal with running them afterward - unless the province takes over responsibility, which as I've suggested is problematic from a larger point of view. Basically, if we are spending billions of limited dollars on stadia and racetracks, I'm sceptical of the net benefit, even if it ups the timeline for a DRL. Still, I wish we didn't need deadlines, but they do seem to have an impact - so I'm torn. Maybe we will never get the DRL without an Olympics!!! (wish I were joking)

3. The trend toward responsible games??? Brazil wasted billions on stadia that will never see anything like the capacity they were built for, and have huge poverty and infrastructure needs they didn't deal with instead. Now the commodity economy is crashing and they still have to spend on sports infrastructure. Not responsible in my books. Sochi. I'll say that again, Sochi. At a cost of over $30B US, a total and utter failure of epic proportions. No one even wants to bid for winter games except Kazakhstan and Beijing. I doubt this will apply to Toronto, mind you, but the Olympic brand is suffering right now, and it is wilful blindness to not see that.

4. Still, I think that, unlike London, Toronto does have a lot to gain from the Olympics, as we are a relatively unknown city around the world. I do think that the games have an opportunity to bring people together and forge an identity for the city that it struggles with - suburbs vs city, 905 vs 416 squabbling is one of my pet peeves about living here. The built form of the GTA also necessitates disconnection. And we might need cultural activity to knit things together.

5. Pan Ams seemed good, I thought that people seemed happy and small things like the Toronto sign becoming iconic are a testament to what we can achieve culturally if we just put some effort into it. Since there is a real need here, I do count it as a positive for a bid.
 

SunriseChampion

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If the Pan Ams got me the CN Tower blowing up, a cool Toronto sign, and A Tribe Called Red for free twice, and an airport train (though I still prefer to use Billy Bishop)....I can only dream of what the Olympics would do for me.

Shhh....it's cool....I pay taxes too.
 

TOareaFan

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I voted absolutely no....and I am not even against Olympics.

The question is very narrow and I happen to think that if Toronto is interested in an Olympic bid it should be 2028...giving more time to study the pros and cons and taking a shot at building unity to whatever decision is made.
 

animatronic

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UT is actually more divided than I thought.
That's why I asked the question. The Olympics don't fit into neat little buckets like downtown/suburbs, 416/905, rich/poor, left/right - yet some posters are making a lot of assumptions about people based on their support (or lack thereof). The fact that a bunch of armchair urbanists are almost evenly split on the idea makes it a very interesting debate.
 

TOareaFan

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That's why I asked the question. The Olympics don't fit into neat little buckets like downtown/suburbs, 416/905, rich/poor, left/right - yet some posters are making a lot of assumptions about people based on their support (or lack thereof). The fact that a bunch of armchair urbanists are almost evenly split on the idea makes it a very interesting debate.
Small sample size but is that how you interpret those numbers?

54% are yes or leaning that way
36% are no or leaning no.

If those number hold I am not sure I would call that evenly split.
 

wopchop

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The Olympics would guarantee me steady work for the next decade, but I would still vote against hosting them.

I think that the construction and security costs will be exorbitant and people are really, really underestimating them.

People are already talking in the other thread about how the recently built aquatics centre and velodrome will likely be considered useless by the IOC, due to seating constraints and location, so we can add the costs of them ($205m & $47.4m) as minimum costs, as a new olympic-level aquatic centre could easily cost $350 - $500m, and a new olympic-level velodrome could cost $150-$200m, to the additional $750m+ for a new stadium. These three facilities alone could easily cost $1.5 - $2b to construct based on the current construction market.

I don't see any problem with a new Athletes Village, because if the market holds out, then we could easily recoup much of the cost via legacy sale as condos.
 
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