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Showing posts with label Pan Am Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pan Am Games. Show all posts

Saturday 25 July 2015

Pan Am Opening Ceremonies (Toronto)

Cirque Du Soleil Performs.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1 Blue Jays Way
Date: July 2015
Website:  www.toronto2015.org

    We arrived at Union Station courtesy of a free ride on the TTC.  Anyone with a ticket to any Pan Am event gets to ride the subways, buses and streetcars in Toronto for no additional charge on the day of their event.  As we came up from the subway we could hear music and we were greeted by two dancers performing for the crowds as they headed towards the Opening Ceremonies.

This next dance is called "Can You Spare A Token ?"

  The Pan Am Opening Ceremonies took place on the evening of July 10th, 2015.  They were held in the Pan Am Dome (PAD) which outside of the games is normally called the Rogers Centre.  We still prefer its original name of Sky Dome.  As we headed towards the dome we walked right past the Pan Am Games Cauldron which would be set ablaze later that same evening.  The cauldron is made of multi-coloured pieces of steel with symbols of the different sports cut into each piece.

Pan Am Cauldron made of Hamilton Steel.

  We arrived early enough to be entertained by some CBC on-air personalities making small talk and we had a chance to participate in the PACHI shuffle.  Let's fast forward about an hour to when the real show began.

Before the show begins.

  The world famous Cirque du Soleil created a special performance for the Opening Ceremonies.  It started with dancers dressed in traditional outfits from around the world and the electronic First Nation music of DJ Shub.  DJ Shub is formerly of Canadian group A Tribe Called Red who will perform in Toronto as part of Panamania.

World of Dance.
Colourful Elements. 

    The show then switched gears as we were treated to a video performance of the torch relay as it headed towards Toronto.  The gold medal winning 1996 Canadian men's relay team carried the torch past Toronto landmarks and then ended up on the Edgewalk at the top of the CN Tower.  Sprinter Donovan Bailey appears to base jump from the top of the tower and then lands onto the roof of the Rogers Centre.  A moment later he descends down onto the stage carrying the Pan Am Torch.

The Descent of Donovan.

  The torch is placed at the front of the stage so that it can watch over the remainder of the ceremony.  Now it was time for all of the athletes to enter.  In total there will be over 7000 athletes from 41 delegations taking part in either the Pan Am or Parapan Am Games.  We say delegations instead of countries because the Pan Am Games allows teams to compete from territories like the Cayman Islands.  Some of the teams consisted of just a handful of athletes, such as Grenada pictured below.

Grenada's Athletes.

  Some teams were much larger, such as the host team of Canada which boasted 700 athletes.  All of the teams entered in a burst of smoke and lights as excited volunteers danced and clapped and welcomed them to the games.

Canada Arrives.

    Once all of the athletes were seated, it was time for Cirque du Soleil to take back the stage.  Once again the music began as performers rose up on elevated platforms.  Things started slowly as the athletes seats glowed through the darkness.

Cirque du Soleil.
Lights on the athletes.

    Then things picked up as a fire roared through the center of the stage and the Cirque performers danced and flipped through the flames.  The show continued through various changes.  There was always so much happening that we did not know where to look.  Everywhere you did look there was someone swinging or spinning and contorting their body through this world of music and lights.

Into the Fire.
White Veil.
Colours of Cirque.

    Soon it was time for the official Olympic and Pan Am Flags to arrive. As the announcer called out the names of the flag bearers, each one was a Canadian superstar.

Star Power raises the Pan Am Flag.
  • Loly Rico - Refugee Activist
  • Fergie Jenkins - Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Rick Hansen - Man in Motion
  • Marnie McBean - Olympic Rower
  • Yann Martel - Authour of Life of Pii
  • Chantal Petitclerc - Paralympian
  • Pinball Clemens - Toronto Argonauts
  • Simon Whitfield - Triathlete
  • Mark Messier - Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Bobby Orr - Hockey Legend
  • Catriona Le May Doan -Speed Skater
  • Jewel Kats - Author
  • Amanda Belzowski - Amanda's Lemonade Stand
  • Gabrielle Schrimshaw - Aboriginal Professional Association
  • Craig Kielberger - Humanitarian  
  The flags were raised and the athlete and judge oaths were taken.  Then the speeches by Saad Rafi, Chief Executive Officer Toronto 2015 Pan Am Organizing Committee and others welcomed us all to the games.

What you'll see is that our Canadian Hearts are big.

  After the last thank you and muchas gracias, the torch was taken from its resting place and the Canadian women's relay team from 1984 ran with the flame.  They managed to find each other in the dark amongst the athletes and passed the flame along.  Finally, Marita Payne Wiggins passed the flame to her son Andrew Wiggins who is a rising NBA star.  Andrew ran with his torch half way up the stairs into the stands where he passed the flame to certified Canadian NBA star, Steve Nash.  Steve ran up the stairs, exited the Rogers Centre and set the Pan Am Cauldron ablaze where it will burn for the duration of the games.  Officially the games had begun.

Passing of the flame.

  To cap everything off, there was a fireworks display that also set the CN Tower ablaze.  Unfortunately, as we were inside the Rogers Centre with the roof closed we had to marvel at it on the giant video screens.  We had hoped the roof would be open, but with the Rogers Centre being nestled right against the tower we may have only seen a cloud of smoke as the ashes of the expended fireworks rained down upon us.  We are hoping that this display is repeated at the closing ceremonies July 26th, 2015.  So far it has been a great games for Canada and we look forward to the Parapan Am portion to begin in August.

Red & White CN Tower.

Map of Our World
Rogers Centre (Pan Am Ceremonies Venue)

Post # 65

Friday 10 July 2015

Pan Am Games (Toronto)

Pan Am Games Countdown Clock. Only 47 days to go.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: Nathan Phillips Square
Date: July 2015
Website:  www.toronto2015.org

  The Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto.  Everywhere you look you see the signs.  Buses and subways are covered over in ads promoting the games.  There is a giant countdown clock sitting in Nathan Phillips Square which is counting down to the very second that the games begin.  Across the street from Nathan Phillips Square, The Sheraton Centre has a huge banner hanging down the side proclaiming "The games are coming".

The Games Are Coming.

  We were even in Niagara Falls, Ontario and noticed this floral display.

Pan Am Floral Display.

  There are also lots of strange signs appearing around the city.  For example, we spotted this building which was labelled UDAC and was flying the Pan Am Games flag out front.  We discovered that UDAC stands for Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Centre and that this is where all of the volunteers go to obtain their uniforms.

Pan Am Games Flag.

  Back in Nathan Phillips Square (or should we say NPS) the area has become a main location for enjoying the games.

Only 10 metres to go.

  Just outside the square in front of Old City Hall, we spotted PACHI on top of a bus shelter.  PACHI the porcupine is the official mascot of the games.  He has 41 coloured quills on his back and each one represents a participating country.  The games are open to North American, South American, and Caribbean countries. The Pan Am Games are held every four years and are the next biggest summer sporting event behind the Olympics.

Gimme Shelter.

  As we entered the square we could see the scaffolding getting ready for Panamania.  Panamania is a series of free concerts being held around Toronto for the duration of the games.  There are also plans to broadcast some of the sporting events live on giant screens.


  On the west side of the square is a temporary Pan Am Games Superstore where you can get all your souvenirs from the games.  This includes Pan Am T-shirts, hats, buttons, PACHI dolls or merchandise to show your support for a particular country.  We received some free PACHI stickers just for walking inside to take a look.

Pan Am Superstore.

  The countdown clock is getting ever closer to the Opening Ceremonies which take place tonight (July 10 2015).  There are actually two clocks.  One counts down to the start of the Pan Am Games, and the second counts down to the start of the Parapan Am portion which runs August 7th to 15th.  The clock counts down all day and night until the final second passes.  Let the games begin!

Pan Am Games Countdown Clock. Only 6 days to go.
Pan Am Games Countdown Clock At Night.

Map of Our World
Nathan Phillips Square
Pan Am Games (UDAC)

Post # 62

Sunday 5 July 2015


CannonDesign Slide Show.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 200 University Ave.
Date: May 2015
Website:  www.cannondesign.com

  During Doors Open Toronto 2015 we visited the offices of architectural firm CannonDesign.  When we arrived we were escorted up to the 12th floor for a look around.  CannonDesign is responsible for designing three of the new venues created for when the Toronto area hosts the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Milton Velodrome Design Plans.

  They designed the Milton Velodrome which will be used for cycling.  A velodrome is a large oval track which is on a steep angle.  The cyclists use the angle to manoeuvre in order to get the best position or gain speed on their opponents.  The bicycles they ride have only one gear and no brakes.  There are only two ways to stop.  You either coast around until you slow down, or you fall off.

Velodrome Pictures.

   The Hamilton Soccer Stadium they designed will also be used during the games.

Football in The Hammer.

   As will a new York University Athletics Stadium designed for hosting track and field events.  All of these venues were designed in hopes that they will serve the communities long after the games have ended.

York University Athletics Stadium

  We noticed a few other things as we walked freely through their offices.  We noticed that their 12th floor vantage point gives them a great view of Roy Thomson Hall and the CN Tower to the south, and of the Canada Life building and Osgoode Hall to the north.

Looking South to the Lake.
Canada Life to the North.

      We also noticed that one employee is either a McDonald's Grimace fan or else someone in their family is a dead ringer.

That's just a photo of a friend of Uncle Ronald.

  One final room was an area where the architects of tomorrow could work on their plans using paper and glue and popsicle sticks.  It was an interesting idea to show us the designs behind the buildings that are yet to be put into use.  So much of Doors Open is spent talking about the history of the buildings that have survived through time.   Lets hope these sporting arenas are put to good use, starting with the upcoming games.

Popsicle Stick Palace. The building of the Future.

Map of Our World

Post # 61