Pan Am Games in Toronto

DON PEAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:13 PM ET

Pan Am Games, you're not in Winnipeg anymore.

That is one thing that may be abundantly clear by the size, scope and budget of Toronto's 2015 event.

Canadian Urban Institute president Glen Murray was mayor of the 'Peg when the city hosted the Games for the second time back in 1999.

Winnipeg wasn't auditioning to host the Olympic Games with its Pan Am event and Murray was in the midst of budget trimming and tax cutting, so the budget was set at just $200 million. Organizers brought the Games in under budget at a cool $181 million.

"The focus was on either using the existing facilities and improving them or repurposing or redeveloping existing infrastructure that was long overdue in its state of repair," Murray said.

Winnipeg's athletes' village used residences at the University of Manitoba.

Across the city, any new buildings needed for the Games were planned with future sustainability in mind.

Murray said the key thing organizers kept in mind as they brought together one of the few financially successful Games in the history of Pan Am was that the Games wouldn't bring in big money or big tourism.

"It's not the Olympics," he said. "All the big revenue generators you would get for an Olympic Games are not present for the Pan ,0Am Games, In fact, it is a struggle to get the A-list teams to come.

"The other thing is it's not a big tourism draw. This is not an event that large numbers of people are going to get on a plane ... unless a family member is involved."

While Murray said you can't expect a bigger city like Toronto to do a no frills-style Winnipeg Games, organizers should keep the fiscal lessons of Winnipeg in mind.


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