The Pan American Games, held since 1951, have grown to become the third largest international multi-sport games event in the world – surpassed only by the Olympics and the Asian Games. So far a dozen countries across North and South America have hosted the games – in 2015, Canada will host for the third time, with Toronto as the Host City.
Sixteen Ontario municipalities will be hosting various sporting events at a total of thirty separate venues, accommodating the 7 600 athletes from across the Americas expected to compete in the 2015 games. Niagara is no exception.
Hamilton - Soccer
The CIBC Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium is a new venue, but the grounds have a long sporting history – the field was used in the 1930 British Empire Games – the first instance of what would later become the modern Commonwealth Games, and the first time Canada hosted an international sporting competition. The legacy of the old Ivor Wynne Stadium can be seen in the design of the Pan Am Soccer Stadium, which bills itself as a ‘neighbourhood stadium’ for community events as well as international soccer games.
St. Catharines - Rowing
Further east along the lakeshore, in St Catharines, the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course facility has been the home of the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta since 1903 – North America’s largest regatta. Martindale Pond is used for rowing championships in a world-class course that has hosted the World Rowing Championships on two occasions, and will run fourteen men’s and women’s competitions in the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Welland – Kayak and Canoe
Inland, Welland will be utilising its canals for kayak racing via the Pan Am Flatwater Centre. The canals have been widened in preparation for the 2015 games and the centre redeveloped, creating a state-of-the-art venue for water sports. Eight kilometres of controlled water conditions will make for world-class kayak and canoe sprints.
The Pan Am Games will see a huge amount of activity across Ontario come July 2015 – but with three top venues, Niagara has more than its fair share of international sporting events for everyone’s viewing enjoyment.