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Five months before athletes move in, Pan Am Games village complete

02/20/2015 04:16 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Almost five months before it opens its doors to the first athlete, the construction of the Pan Am Games village is complete.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory made the official handover announcement Friday at the village, which will house more than 10,000 athletes and officials during the Games.

Wynne compared the village construction to an athlete's "meticulous planning and the years of dedication."

"That's what we've had to do to get here as well," Wynne said. "Six years ago, we set our sights on hosting the best Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games ever. . . and we also set our sights on building a legacy that will continue to enrich Ontario for decades.

"The completion of the athletes village, which has won multiple awards and has been completed on time and on budget, takes us another giant step toward our goal for these Games to be a great Ontario success story."

The $709-million village will include a YMCA, banking facilities, coffee shop, general store, dining tent and an 18-acre park.

Once the Games are over, the 80-acre site in the West Don Lands will become a mixed-use community with low-income housing, retail condominiums and George Brown College's first student residence.

"When I use the word 'miracle,' if you go back and look at what people were saying about this very site that we're standing on today 20 years ago, I think it's a miracle we're standing here today," Tory said.

The housing breakdown will see up to 100 affordable ownership condos and townhouses and 253 affordable rental units, and approximately 800 market housing condos and townhouse units.

The Canary District Community will include a YMCA, an Aboriginal community health centre, and be connected with a new streetcar line.

Canada will field a team of over 700 athletes, the largest ever for a multi-sport Games.

"Team Canada, because of its size, will be one of the few countries in this village that will have its own building," said Curt Harnett, a three-time Olympic cycling medallist and Canada's chef de mission for the Games. "One of the amazing things that's happened is that the developers have already painted the walls in our building red."

The Pan Am Games will be held July 10-26 and the Parapan Am Games will go Aug. 7-15.

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