Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let's call it Torontario

Don't underestimate the importance of semantics in Toronto's Ontario's Torontario's bid for the 2015 Pan/Am Games. It is, after all, a bid that is claiming to be regional in its scope but has a lot of shots of the CN Tower on the promotional material that is being distributed internationally. How the bid backers manage to balance the occasionally conflicting interests at play may determine how successful the bid will be.

The reality is that people in Rio don't much care about the difference between Oshawa and Aurora. It's all Toronto to them. Selling the merits of the bid to the international audience is all about selling the merits of Toronto. But, as anyone that has spent more than 10 seconds in this country knows, the difference between Oshawa and Aurora can be MASSIVE...to the people in Oshawa and Aurora anyway. And don't dare tell them they are from Toronto.

In Today's Hamilton Spectator published the first hint of what might be ahead for the Pan/Am bid. In a news column by Lee Prokaska, called for a "at least one board member who is clearly a champion of our city," to be included when the final group of suits is named to the bid's B of D. On the surface, it's a reasonable suggestion. But, one wonders if it's just the first of many "reasonable suggestions" that will be made by various 905 folks.

Hopefully not. The bid is going to face enough killjoy opposition as it is. It can't afford bickering amongst those that actually understand its value.

One thing Toronto (it will be called Toronto's bid here) won't face opposition from is Caracas, Venezuela. That city dropped out suddenly last week. Although no reason was given, it has been speculated that there was a fear that three bids from South America would split the vote and all-but hand it to Toronto.

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