Archive for July, 2015

PanAm-logoThe 2015 Pan American Games, officially the XVII Pan American Games and commonly known as the Toronto 2015 Pan-Am Games are a major international multi-sport event celebrated in the tradition of the Pan American Games, as governed by Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The games are being held from July 10th to 26th, 2015 in Toronto, Canada, with preliminary rounds in certain events having begun on July 7th, 2015. Marking the third Pan-American games hosted by Canada, and the first in the province of Ontario, the Games are being held at venues in Toronto and seventeen other Golden Horseshoe communities. Both the Pan-American Games and 2015 Parapan American Games are being organized by the Toronto Organizing Committee for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games (TO2015).
The Games are hosting 6,135 athletes representing 41 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the Americas, marking the largest multi-sport event hosted in Canada, in terms of athletes competing. A record of 45% of competitors are expected to be women, the most ever for any multi-sport event.The Games’ program consists of 364 events in 36 sports, which includes the 28 sports that will be contested at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Canoe slalom and golf will make their Pan-American Games debut, as well as women’s competitions in baseball, C-1 canoe and rugby sevens.

A total of 36 sports, 51 disciplines and 364 medal events were contested at the games. Basque pelota is the only sport dropped from the last games. Golf (after being added to the Olympic program for 2016) also made its Pan American Games debut. Canoe slalom, the only Olympic discipline to never have been held at the Games, also made its debut, meaning for the first time ever the entire Olympic sports program was contested.

The 2015 Pan American Games used a mixture of new venues, existing and temporary facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Exhibition Place. After the Games, some of the new facilities will be reused in their games time form, while others will be resized. Ten of these venues were newly built, while fifteen were renovated to stage the games.

Toronto will become one of the most populous cities in history to hold the Pan American Games. In July, Toronto has an average mean temperature of 22.3 °C (72.1 °F) and afternoon maximum average of 26.6 °C (79.9 °F) The average humidity is 74%, and the city (downtown area) averages five days with the temperature exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) and about 65 millimetres (2.6 in) of precipitation, mostly brief periods of showers and sometimes thunderstorms.

In January 2012, the Toronto Organizing Committee for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games (TO2015) announced that sixty percent of the originally proposed venues would be dropped, in favour of a clustering system seen at other multi-sport events such as the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom.  Exhibition Stadium will stage the rugby sevens competition.

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Pan Am Dome, which will be referred to during the Games as the “Pan-Am Ceremonies Venue” due to sponsorship rules. Some of the competition venues in the Toronto area include Exhibition Stadium, the Pan Am / Parapan Am Fields, the Exhibition Centre and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Competition venues outside the city of Toronto include Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium, Mississauga Sports Centre, Markham Pan Am Centre in Markham, the Oshawa Boxing Centre in Oshawa, and the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course in St. Catharines. Most of the torchbearers were selected by a random selection, while the others were selected by torch relay communities and games partners. The relay began on May 30th, 2015 in Toronto and finishes on July 10th, the date of the opening ceremony. The Games began July 10th with closing ceremonies July 26th, 2015.

fall18In 1827, Thomas Barnett began offering tourists a tour “Behind the Sheet” which included a walking tour to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and along a short ledge behind the falling water.

In 1887, the Niagara Falls – Queen Victoria Park Commission decided that the circular staircase leading to the “Behind the Sheet” tour at the base of the Horseshoe Falls should be replaced with a hydraulic lift.

During the spring of 1889, a major rock fall at the center of the Horseshoe Falls, diminished the flow of water over the Falls along the Canadian shore.

On June 6th 1893, the Zybach and Brundage Company were granted an exclusive ten year lease to operate the hydraulic lift, the Under the Falls attraction and photography business at the Table Rock.

In 1902, as part of the pipeline & powerhouse agreement, the Ontario Power Company agreed to build a 244 m tunnel behind the Horseshoe Falls. They were also required to construct an elevator to connect to this tunnel and provide free power for the elevator. In exchange the Ontario Power Company would take over the existing hydraulic lift to take its employees to and from their new power generating station at the base of the Falls.

The initial tunnel was built by the Ontario Power Company. By 1903, the new elevator and tunnel had been completed and ready for the tourist season. As a result, a 55 m long extension was made to the tunnel extending under the Horseshoe Falls.

In 1932, a commemorative plaque was erected to mark the site of the original Table Rock House which stood since being erected by Saul Davis in 1853. An inspection of the scenic tunnels revealed that gorge erosion had rendered the tunnels unsafe. The tunnel wall thickness had diminished to only 1.7 m between the tunnel and the gorge wall. A new tunnel was bored 18.3 m back from the former tunnel. The new tunnel was lined with concrete and electrically lighted.

In 1951, an outdoor observation platform was built at the end of a branch of the old tunnel. The Table Rock House and the starting point for this tunnel trip was the oldest building in the park. Thus, the Parks Commissioners decided to build a modern Table Rock House, which was located only a short distance south of the old Table Rock structure. This new building would allowed a full view of the Horseshoe Falls.

During 1916 as a result of WWI, the Table Rock House was closed and the military barricaded Queen Victoria Park from the Refectory to Dufferin Islands in order to protect the power generating stations. During the winter of 1916 – 1917, Table Rock House was used as headquarters for the Canadian Army. Bunk houses were built as were guard houses at the entrances to Queen Victoria Park.

Construction of the new table Rock building began in September of 1925. The architectural firm Findlay & Foulis of Sault St. Marie designed the new Table Rock House. The location of the new building required the construction of a branch tunnel to connect to the main tunnel leading to the Horseshoe Falls. The Table Rock and the Scenic Tunnels were closed to the public.

In 1963, extensive alterations were made to the Table Rock House. Again in 1989 a restoration project was started at table rock and completed in 1993.

In 2007, Table Rock finished its renovations for the newest attraction, Niagara’s Fury.