One Year to Go Until TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Begin

Toronto and other Games communities celebrating with live music, fireworks and sport activities

Full schedule of events available at TORONTO2015.org/one-year

TORONTO, July 10, 2014 /CNW/ - In just 365 days, Toronto and 15 other municipalities across southern Ontario will welcome athletes, artists, visitors and dignitaries from 41 countries and territories as they come here to compete in the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.

To help every one count down the remaining year to the Games, free community celebrations are taking place over the next four days across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, including a two-day festival in the heart of downtown Toronto on Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12.

The festivities in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square will start at 11:45 a.m. on Friday with the unveiling of the Cisco TORONTO 2015 Countdown Clock. This state-of-the-art clock will connect the Games to the world unlike any countdown clock before — and it will be thrillingly revealed in an appearance by Cirque du Soleil, Creative Partner for the Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony.

The spectacular clock unveiling will be followed over the next 48 hours by top local and international musical acts such as Walk Off The Earth from Burlington, ON, Trinidad and Tobago soca superstar Machel Montano and Cuban salsa giants Los Van Van.

More than 30 top athletes will also be on hand to play sports with the public and pose for photographs, including Toronto Raptors star Greivis Vasquez; legendary Olympic cyclist and Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Curt Harnett; CIBC Team Next mentors triathlete Simon Whitfield and boxer Mary Spencer; and para-swimmer Benoît Huot.

The musical acts and cultural activities at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square will be a preview of what is come next summer as part of PANAMANIA, presented by CIBC — the five-week arts and culture festival for the Games.

All of the community celebrations, stretching from Welland to Caledon to Oshawa, fuse sport and culture unlike anything else in Ontario — that is, until the Games arrive next summer.

Outside Toronto, one-year countdown festivities will take place in 10 municipalities starting today, with carnival games, sport activities, live music and more in Mississauga, Burlington and Ajax. Other unique family-friendly celebrations are planned in Caledon, Hamilton, Markham, Milton, Oshawa and Welland. St. Catharines — home of rowing at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games — will also light the world-famous Niagara Falls in the colours of the Pan Am Games on Friday and Saturday.

For more details on the one-year countdown festivities in Toronto and other locations, please visit TORONTO2015.org/one-year, Facebook.com/Toronto2015 or Twitter at @TO2015, #TO2015 and #WeArePanAm.

QUOTES

Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015):

"In just one year from today, Toronto and Ontario will host the biggest international multi-sport event ever held in Canada. It's a massive undertaking, unlike anything we've ever done before, and our communities are ramping up their preparations and excitement with a host of fun and family-friendly festivities that will give everyone a chance to experience right now what the Games will bring to our region next summer. I invite everyone to come out and help celebrate!"

The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance:

"Hosting the 2015 Games will create tremendous economic, cultural and community development opportunities in Toronto, and the Greater Golden Horseshoe area and will have a positive impact on current and future athletes. As well, the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games will give us an opportunity to demonstrate Canada's sport excellence, our rich culture and the beauty of our country."

The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport):

"In less than one year, Canada will welcome athletes and visitors from throughout the Americas and the Caribbean to our country's largest city and the surrounding Greater Golden Horseshoe area. Our Government is proud to support the Pan American and Parapan American Games, including the Games' Celebration Venue. Our significant investment in the region's sports facilities will result in a lasting legacy of these Games for our high-performance athletes and for all Canadians, for many years to come."

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario:

"I am so excited to mark the one-year countdown to the 2015 Pan Am Games. The Games will be Ontario's moment to shine and PANAMANIA Live at Nathan Phillips Square will be its centre stage — a place where people can celebrate the spirit of the Games through programming that showcases our diverse communities and honours our incredible talent. Together, I know we will make these Games a tremendous success."

Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games:

"Countdown festivities at Nathan Phillips Square and across the Greater Golden Horseshoe are an exciting preview of what residents and visitors can expect to experience in communities all across the province as we prepare to welcome the world to Ontario in 2015."

Councillor Mark Grimes, Pan Am Champion, City of Toronto:

"Toronto is very proud to be the Host City of the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. Joining the one-year countdown celebration at Nathan Phillips Square is just one way for Toronto residents to benefit from the rich experience and legacy that the Games offer. I encourage all Torontonians to get involved by volunteering, joining a Pan Am Games celebration, buying a ticket when they go on sale later this year, and inviting friends and family to visit Toronto in July and August 2015 to be part of this great event."

Richard Nesbitt, chief operating officer, CIBC:

"CIBC is proud to help celebrate what the Games are all about — an incredible celebration of sport and culture ‎— during the one-year countdown festivities. As the Lead Partner of the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, CIBC is excited to mark the countdown with a $1-million commitment to KidSport so more kids can play organized sport. This investment builds on our promise to create a lasting sports legacy in Canada and comes a year after we launched CIBC Team Next — a first-of-its kind program‎ to help 67 of Canada's rising athletes reach their podium dreams."

About TO2015
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) is tasked with managing and delivering the Games. It is working to bring some of the world's best athletes and artists to the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, giving Ontarians a unique chance to be part of the action, and making the region a hub for sport.

The TORONTO 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as Lead Partner CIBC and other partners and sponsors.

The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10-26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-15.

For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org.

SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

For further information:

Teddy Katz
Director, media relations and chief spokesperson, TO2015
416.957.2117
teddy.katz@toronto2015.org