GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Goodbye Guadalajara. Over to you, Toronto.
Pan American Games wrapped Sunday night with a closing ceremony that
included an eight-minute segment dedicated to the Ontario capital,
which will host the Games in four years.
As dancers roamed the
stage, a video montage of vintage Pan Am sports highlights was played
on an overhanging screen at the packed Omnilife Stadium. The crowd was
also treated to scenic shots of the city and region, including the
Toronto skyline, CN Tower and Niagara Falls.
Florence K sang the national anthem. The performers capped their
program with a mix of Aboriginal, Caribbean and Latin dance
performances resembling an urban street party.
“Our goal was to
combine storytelling, music, imagery, athletics and dance to give
viewers a sense of Toronto, its multicultural neighbourhoods and
surrounding regions,” TO2015 chief executive officer Ian Troop said in
Wearing a sharp dark suit, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
gleefully waved the Pan American Games flag in the traditional handover
ceremony. He was joined on stage by Sports Minister Bal Gosal and local
Earlier, Canadian boxer and gold medallist Mary
Spencer proudly waved the Maple Leaf as she entered the stadium in a
line with flag-bearers from other countries. The joyous athletes soon
followed as dance music pounded throughout the venue.
beaming Canadians wore red warmup jackets, black shorts and many were
waving small flags. A few athletes added some local flavour to the
uniform – one wore a black sombrero while another was sporting a
The Ontario capital will host the Games in July
2015 and the weeklong Parapan American Games will be held the following
month. Organizers expect 10,000 athletes and officials from 48 sports
It will be the third time Canada has hosted the
Pan Ams, which Winnipeg also hosted in 1967 and 1999. It will be the
first time that Canada will host the Parapan American Games.
Sunday, former Pan Am medallist Alexandra Orlando of Toronto was
elected to the Pan American Sport Organization (PASO) Athletes
Commission. Its goal is to ensure that the athletes’ voices are heard
in the planning of future Games.
Orlando competed for 12 years
as a rhythmic gymnast and represented Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games.
She also competed at the Pan Am Games in 2003 and 2007.
Watch highlights from Sunday’s closing ceremony below.