BY CARYS MILLS
Ryerson has cleared a major hurdle in its pursuit of Maple Leaf Gardens, said the school’s athletic director.
Toronto was declared the host of the Pan American Games on Nov. 6.
Ryerson will host racquetball games and basketball practices for the Games, which have a $1.4 billion budget.
Ivan Joseph, Ryerson’s athletic director, said the Games can give the federal government another incentive to invest in Ryerson.
“Having the Pan Am Games, the government was always going to invest in it, and now the government gets to invest in Ryerson and the Pan Am Games in one,” said Joseph.
“Now that we have the Pan Am Games, I think our chances have increased tremendously,” said Joseph.
The Pan American Village will be five minutes away from Ryerson.
The on-campus facilities to be used for the Pan Am Games will most likely be within the new athletic centre, according to Joseph.
Ryerson is waiting to hear from the federal government about a request for $20 million in funding to house the new athletic facility within Maple Leaf Gardens.
“It makes me more optimistic for Maple Leaf Gardens because what better way to showcase Toronto and its sporting culture by renovating a legacy building,” said Joseph.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said the Pan Am games aren’t related to the Maple Leaf Gardens funding request. But the games could get the federal government’s attention on the need for another downtown sports venue, according to Bob Rae, MP Toronto Centre. “It might help apply pressure to the federal government,” said Rae. “I can see that being an influence.”