Rob Ford shoots down 2020 Summer Olympics bid put forward by a group of influential Torontonians
Apparently the sport-loving Brothers Ford aren’t entirely indiscriminate in their love of big-time sporting spectacles. While the Fords are keen to bring a National Football League franchise to the Big Smoke, they aren’t so keen to see Toronto host the Olympics. A hopeful group led by local businessman Bob Richardson—and supported by Dalton McGuinty, the Canadian Olympic Committee and a group of influential Torontonians, including John Tory, Mike Harris and Paul Godfrey—approached the mayor’s office to get its blessing to bid on behalf of the city for 2020 Summer Olympics, but was promptly rebuked—albeit in a more polite manner than we’ve sometimes seen.
“It’d be nice. If it were maybe two, three, four years down the road, it’d be nice,” said the mayor’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford. “But it’s not feasible right now.”
That essentially kills an eight-week behind-the-scenes effort led by Bob Richardson, head of the Devon Group public relations firm, to assemble broad-based support for an Olympic bid ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s Sept. 1 deadline.
An official bid needs the consent of city government and the domestic Olympic committee.
The arguments against hosting the Olympics are pretty well understood at this point: they’re ruinously expensive and hugely disruptive, and the infrastructure built for them doesn’t always age well (the Montreal expressways are but one obvious example). Which means that just because the Fords appear to be opposed to the bid on ideological grounds—they don’t like incurring costs of any kind—it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Of course, there are also solid arguments out there in favour of the Olympics, and Lawrence Lui does a pretty good job of running down some of the reasons the Fords in particular might want to get behind the Games—namely, that they would provide the impetus for subways, a giant stadium and city cleanup.
But arguments for and against the Games aside, there’s also this: brash, irrepressible mayors in this city don’t exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to Olympic bids.
• Mayor’s office says no thanks to Olympic bid [Toronto Star]
• Ford nixes Toronto’s nascent bid for 2020 Summer Olympics [Globe and Mail]
• Doug Ford says no-go on Toronto Olympics [National Post]
• Why Toronto Should Bid for the 2020 Olympics [299 Bloor Call Control]