TO2015 Celebrates Three-Year Countdown at PAN AM/PARAPAN AM DAY

Diversity, arts and culture woven into Canada's largest ever multi-sport Games

TORONTO, July 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) celebrated its three-year countdown to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games with a commitment to culture that characterizes its innovative approach to hosting a multi-sport competition.

"From the very beginning, when the bid to host the 2015 Games was first envisioned, it was very clear that TORONTO 2015 was going to be about more than sports and athletic achievement," said TO2015 Chief Executive Officer, Ian Troop.  "The common thread uniting our cultural programs and events is that they are accessible to everyone. These are the 'People's Games.' They will involve and engage our diverse population, and enable them to tell their own stories."

A countdown celebration at Nathan Phillips Square today featured sports demonstrations and performances by artists including Kardinal Offishall, Eliana Cuevas and Aline Morales. The celebration began with the raising of a TORONTO 2015 flag at Toronto City Hall and a proclamation declaring July 10 Pan Am Day in the city of Toronto.

"The Government of Canada is proud to support the TORONTO 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "Three years from now, we will welcome the Americas to the Toronto area for a celebration of sport and culture, and it is wonderful to celebrate this important milestone with the community today. I encourage everyone to experience the exciting sport and culture aspects of the TORONTO 2015 Games."

Two cultural projects—part of the TO2015 Arts and Culture program—are being unveiled during the festivities. Play Me, I'm Yours sees 41 pianos, painted by artists from Pan American countries, placed across the city core for public use. The second project, Fresh Eyes by Arrivals.ca is, a multimedia initiative focused on the experiences of new immigrants. Both cultural projects, like the day's performances, embody the region's diversity, creative energy and strong links to Pan American and Caribbean culture.

"In 2015, Ontarians will welcome the world and showcase our province's unique culture and diversity," said Charles Sousa, Minister responsible for the Pan/Parapan Am Games. "The McGuinty government is proud to support the 'People's Games,' which will provide new sport and recreation facilities, strengthen communities and be one of the largest economic drivers in the region in the next three years." 

Play Me, I'm Yours—Toronto:

An interactive phenomenon in Sao Paulo, New York, Paris and London, the Play Me, I'm Yours street pianos project, originally created by Luke Jerram, has arrived in Toronto—with a Pan Am twist. Forty-one pianos—each painted by a local, professional artist with roots in one of 41 Pan American countries—were unveiled for the first time in Canada and will be placed in accessible spaces across the city core where the public is encouraged to spontaneously break out and play a tune. This exercise in harmony through diversity will launch a special celebration and free concert in David Pecaut Square as part of the PAN AM/PARAPAN AM DAY celebrations. Torontonians will be invited to tickle the ivories at 41 iconic Toronto locations all month long. For more details on Play Me, I'm Yours, visit streetpianos.ca.

Fresh Eyes by Arrivals.ca:

Throughout July, Toronto City Hall will be the site of Fresh Eyes, an innovative photographic installation created by Arrivals.ca, a team led by Toronto artist Devon Ostrom. Giant photographs capturing the eyes of new Canadian citizens primarily from Pan American nations fill the windows of city councilors' offices overlooking Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. Fresh Eyes by Arrivals.ca is the maiden project commissioned by the TO2015 Arts and Culture Advisory Council which is mandated with developing public arts and culture creations leading up to 2015. For more information on Arrivals.ca and the TO2015 Arts and Culture program, visit TORONTO2015.org.

"Toronto is proud to be the official Host City of the TORONTO 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games," said Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford. "Today's three-year countdown festivities at Nathan Phillips Square were just the beginning of Toronto displaying its diverse culture, talents and passion for sports to the world."

About the TORONTO 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games

The Pan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The Games comprise all Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games, supported by the Government of Canada and Ontario, will draw 10,000 athletes and officials and feature 48 sports in municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10-26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14. For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org

SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

For further information:

Diane Hargrave Public Relations
For TO2015
W: 416.467.9954 ext 104
C: 416.826.5911
dhprbks@interlog.com

Beth Sulman
For TO2015
416.434.5259
bsulman@hccink.com

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Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

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