Toronto will be a great venue for the Olympics one day but not this time, Mayor John Tory said Tuesday as he announced the city will not be bidding to host the 2024 Summer Games.
Tory had until Tuesday to submit a letter of interest to the International Olympic Committee to register as a potential candidate to host the Games.
“Let me be clear, I’m not saying no to the Olympics, I’m saying not this time.”
Talk of Toronto potentially making a bid emerged as excitement built around this summer’s Pan Am Games, which were hosted by Toronto and surrounding communities.
Tory had been consulting with politicians, sporting officials and other stakeholders on what was involved in bidding for the Olympics.
He didn’t need approval to submit a letter of interest to the IOC, but would have required support from city council and provincial and federal governments to go forward with a bid.
“In the end it is not my job to be rash. It is my job to make the best decision for Toronto,” Tory said, adding that while the feedback he received on a possible bid was largely positive, he had to make his decision in a very short period of time.
“I can’t look people in the eye at this point in our city’s development and tell them that an Olympic bid is the best use of our time or our energy or our investment. But now I can look into the eyes of my colleagues at other levels of government and say this — together we should be making the investments talked about in the context of the Olympics.”
Tory said he would form an advisory group which would look at the merits of competing for future large-scale events like the Olympics or International Expos.
“When and if we decide to compete for any of these events, we will do it right,” he said.
The Canadian Olympic Committee says it respected Tory’s decision and appreciated the thorough consideration he had given the matter.
“We remain optimistic Toronto could and should host the Olympic Games in the future,” president Marcel Aubut said in a statement. “The Canadian Olympic Committee is determined to have the Olympics back in the country at the earliest opportunity.”
Toronto made two unsuccessful bids for the Games — in 1996 and in 2008 — and Tory had said he doesn’t want to lead a third failed attempt.
Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Budapest, Hungary and Hamburg, Germany have said they would be in the running for an Olympic bid. The winning city will be chosen in 2017.
The Canadian Press