July 12, 2013
Canada marks two-year countdown to Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games
By Gary Anderson
July 8 - Some of Canada's top Olympic and Paralympic athletes will join people from ten communities across the southern Ontario region on Wednesday (July 10) to mark the official two-year countdown to the start of the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games in Toronto.
Countdown celebrations, which include sports demonstrations, and cultural and music programmes, are taking place in Toronto, Ajax, Caledon, Hamilton, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Oshawa, St Catharines and Welland.
In each of the 10 communities, a special mural, created by sports artist David Arrigo through the Pan Am Mural Experience, will be officially presented and displayed for the first time.
In the host city Toronto, BMX bikers will be displaying their skills and performing aerial tricks, while Beijing 2008 silver medallist and five-time Canadian champion Jason Burnett will be performing a special trampoline routine.
Olympic gold medal winning triathlete Simon Whitfield, 2011 Pan American boxing champion Mary Spencer and two-time wheelchair racing Paralympian Josh Cassidy will also be in attendance in Toronto.
To mark the opening of the Welland Pan American Flatwater Centre, the first of the 2015 Games' venues to be completed, London 2012 sprint canoe bronze medallist Mark Oldershaw will go up against 2011 sprint kayak gold medallist KC Fraser in the inaugural race at the venue.
Elsewhere, Olympic softball player and Pan American silver medallist Robin Mackin will take part in an exhibition match with former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Robert Butler in Ajax, while former Canada women's soccer international Helen Stoumbos will hold a clinic in Hamilton.
In Mississauga, a host of wheelchair rugby athletes, including London 2012 silver medallists Garett Hickling and David Willsie, will be taking part in activities and demonstrations.
Caledon is hosting an equestrian showcase featuring multiple Pan American medallists Jessica Phoenix and Victoria Winter.
Rowers Jane Thornton, Los Angeles 1984 bronze medallist Doug Hamilton and Pan American gold medallist Dan Casaca will be holding rowing clinics in St Catharines, while 2011 Parapan Am silver medallist in cycling Shelley Gautier will be joined in Milton by Olympic cycling silver medallist Curt Harnett to cycle around the circuit that will be used in 2015.
Former professional table tennis player Sun Jian Fei will be holding a table tennis demonstration in Markham and in Oshawa boxing will take centre stage as Mary Spencer and 2011 Pan American gold medallist Mandy Bujold put on their gloves for a boxing exhibition match.
The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games will take place on July 10 until July 26, while the Parapan American Games will running from August 7 to 14.