Opportunities exist for McMaster in Toronto’s bid for 2008 Olympics


Toronto's well-publicized pitch for the 2008 Summer Olympics may still be on the drawing board, but Therese Quigley, director of athletics & recreation, cautions that McMaster's involvement is even more rudimentary.

At a press conference in Hamilton on Feb. 25, John Bitove, president of the Toronto bid, invited the city to become involved in the bid by hosting boxing, soccer, cycling and field hockey events. (Hamilton may also have the opportunity to host water polo and baseball events.)

McMaster could, potentially, become the recipient of the largest infrastructure gain in the city – an $11-million outdoor facility which would be used for the field hockey competition. The University isn't banking of the project, however.

“It is a long way off in a couple of respects,” said Quigley. “The 2008 Olympics are a long time from now and it's a long road before Toronto even gains the bid to host the games. But to be in the loop is still very positive for us.”

Athletics & Recreation recently received approval to conduct a feasibility study on a new $20-million field house project. Ironically, the consultant for that project worked with the University of Calgary prior to the 1998 Winter Olympics and the University of Alberta preceding the 1983 World University Games.

Quigley says the department's plans existed longer before any mention of the 2008 Olympics surfaced. “It is not going to drive our plans at all, but it's a possibility we're very interested in at the same time.”

The consultant is also working with Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Guelph, and Queen's University on similar, major facility renewals. All three schools are considering ways to add new structures without disrupting current activities.