Government investment to benefit generations of swimmers

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November 12, 2013, TORONTO (ISN) – Swimming Canada applauds the governments of Canada and Ontario for their major investment in facilities that will benefit Canadian athletes for years to come.

The TORONTO 2015 Sport Legacy Fund Plan, jointly supported by the Government of Canada and Province of Ontario, was announced Tuesday at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The Aquatics Centre, now 65 per cent complete, is one of three new facilities built for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to be supported by the Legacy Fund. Managed by the independent Toronto Community Foundation, the Legacy Fund will contribute to the operating and capital maintenance of the facilities for the next two decades, at a minimum.

“This Aquatics Centre will give Canadian athletes a new jewel in our sports crown. Having such a high-end, modern facility in our largest city will have an instant impact, and also benefit our future athletes,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi.

The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), made the announcement alongside Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop, and Ontario MPP Michael Chan, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.

The first payments from the Legacy Fund are scheduled to be made in 2014 after the facilities officially open. The Aquatics Centre and Field House, which is one of four potential host venues bidding to host Swimming Canada’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Trials, will reach substantial completion in July. In the first three years of the Legacy Fund, the Aquatics Centre and Field House is expected to receive approximately $4.1 million.

“We applaud the Government of Canada for continued investment in Canadian athletes, as well as the Province of Ontario. The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto will be the largest multisport games ever in Canada. This strategic investment shows leadership on the part of government to ensure the legacy of the Games stretches far beyond 2015,” El-Awadi said. “We at Swimming Canada would like to express our thanks to Minister Gasol for his leadership, support and dedication to sport in Canada.”

Benoit Huot, Canada’s flag-bearer at the 2012 Paralympics, was co-MC of the event in Toronto, alongside Olympic cycling medallist and Toronto 2015 chef de mission Curt Harnett.

“The Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will draw further attention to our sports in 2015, but this plan also means the benefits will continue long after athletes like me retire,” Huot said.

Future allocations will be determined by the Legacy Fund Allocations Committee, based on annual business plans submitted by the facility owners. The allocations committee will consist of seven representatives selected by the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and the City of Toronto.

It is anticipated the fund will last for a minimum of 20 years.