Torontonians lack of overt excitement about the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, has become a thing after the New York Times wrote an article about it. I mean our Mayor did scold us all for our lack of enthusiasm, moaning & growing, as if we were teenagers who didn’t want to go to Aunt Bev’s house. I take issue with John Tory on this, but hey that’s what elections are for right?
Back to the topic at hand. Why are Torontonians not excited about the Pan Am Games?
Okay, so before I give you the list of reasons, I will first say that Torontonians are kinda … crusty. Not because we don’t like fun (we have a lot of fun), & not because we can’t get excited about things (remember our fervour about Food Trucks last summer?), we are just cautious about getting too excited about something we don’t know anything about.
We have had too many things taken away from us (our autonomy as a city, Virgin Fest ), things that were promised not delivered (a downtown relief line, booze in convenience stores, to never see Rob For again) & things foisted on us we didn’t ask for (our archaic liquor laws, Rob Ford), to welcome anything that WE didn’t choose/ create with open arms. Toronto is use to getting disappointed & when are you are used to getting disappointed you hold of being excited.
In this context, the Pan Am Games fit as a thing we would not be excited about:
- We don’t know what the Pan Am Games are: we have a faint idea about it being some sort of sporting competition .. but we’ve never seen it on TV.
- We know it is not a top-tier sporting competitions: Sorry, to all those who have worked hard on these games, but we all know the Pan Am Games are not the Olympics, or even the Commonwealth games. As a sporting event it is not that .. impressive.
- It wasn’t our choice: Besides politicians, no one in Toronto (however small of a group) supported the hosting of the games. With no grassroots movement behind the games, it becomes a political thing that is forced on us & we were told we had to be excited. I was surprised that no one tried to pass a city bylaw forcing making PanAm excitement a mandatory emotion.
- All we heard was the bad news: All the media ever had to say about the PanAm Games is how much money it cost, how it would a failure, how much Toronto hated the games, how the politicians were making money of it & how our lives would be miserable for 2 months of the year which we treasure the most. How is one to get excited about something if this is all we hear?
- There are other things to get excited about: In a way it may seem as if the PanAm Games are the ONLY entertainment in town & Torontonians are ungracious for not being excited about having this great opportunity. Umm .. well, there are just so many other things going on in the city (Bfest, Edgefst, Jazz fest, Beer fest, Fringe Fest, Christie Pits Movie Festival, etc) that we can pick & choose which things we going to attend. We have options.
Crusty Torontonians can smile
As I have admitted, we are a crusty lot. We do not appear warm from the first greeting. It must be a mixture of the cities British roots, months of long winter & living in a constant state of disappointment. But, we DO warm up, we DO smile & we DO get excited. We just don’t show it in the way others do. Near & dear to our hearts are passive-agressive animal capers (to quote my friend Helen) such as #DeadRacoonTo, Food trucks & love of sporting teams that never win.
We also like outdoor things & free music in the summer. We are just chill about it.
We really like the CN tower & fireworks. We are so not chill about it.
So I predict that once we start to check out the offering of Panamania we will warm up to the PanAm Games & enjoy the things the games have brought to the city. With the exception of the HOV lanes, which we will continue to gripe about.