August 7, 2015 12:43 pm
Updated: August 7, 2015 12:56 pm

Majority of Canadians support a Toronto bid for 2024 Olympics: poll

Pan Am Games Toronto sign, with performances in backgroundToronto's night sky was ablaze on July 26, 2015 as the closing ceremony marked the end of the Pan Am Games 2015.

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TORONTO – Mayor John Tory has said he’ll to wait until after the Parapan Am Games to comment further on the possibility of the city bidding for the Olympics. But, Canadians seem to have already made up their minds.

Canadians and GTA residents overwhelmingly support a Toronto bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, a new poll shows.

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Three quarters of Canadians and GTA residents (76% and 73%, respectively) said they support the idea of Toronto bidding to host the Games, according to an Ipsos poll conducted for Global News.

Despite all our grumbling over traffic congestion and HOV lanes in the weeks leading up to the Pan Am Games, residents seem to acknowledge that these inconveniences may be worth it in the long run, said Sean Simpson, vice president at Ipsos Reid Public Affairs.

“The prestige, the excitement and the infrastructure development that usually comes along with the Games appear to outweigh the drawbacks in the minds of most,” he said.

With a successful Pan Am Games in the books and the Parapan Am Games kicking off Friday, there’s renewed interest in the possibility of the Olympics coming to The 6. Both the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee are calling for Toronto to make a pitch. COC president Marcel Aubut credits the Pan Am Games for paving the way.

“This is the momentum we needed to talk seriously about this,” he said last month.

Simpson pointed out that support outside of Ontario remained largely unchanged since a 2001 Ipsos poll on Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Summer Games. But, support within the province has grown.

“Support within Ontario is considerably higher now than it was back in 2001, and the Pan Am Games could be a contributing factor. The Toronto Pan Am Games appear to have been well run and well organized, and could prove a good test for the City in demonstrating its ability to host the larger Olympic Games,” Simpson said.

WATCH: Toronto Olympic bid being considered but John Tory says ‘let the dust settle’ first

Last month, the city of Boston withdrew from the race to host the 2024 Games, due to low public support and an active opposition group.

With Boston out, the odds of Toronto being successful in a bid improve, according to experts.

“The Boston decision certainly makes the landscape easier for a Canadian bid, a Toronto bid,” said Bruce Kidd, an Olympics expert at the University of Toronto. “With no U.S. bid, a Canadian bid has a much stronger argument,” he said.

The deadline for potential host cities to register interest with the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 15. Pan Am Games organizers said they should have ‘ballpark’ figures on the cost of hosting the Toronto 2015 Games by that time.

And those ballpark numbers will certainly be something Canadians will want to pay attention to, as those polled by Ipsos said, while they support an Olympic bid, they don’t want to pay for it.

Just four in 10 Canadians (39%) said they would support using taxpayers’ money to help fund an Olympic bid. The vast majority (90%) would rather the money come from private donors or corporations.

GTA residents were more likely to support the use of taxpayers’ money to fund a bid, with 48 per cent supporting the idea and 52 per cent opposing it.

“Canada has had a variety of financial experiences,” explained Simpson. “Montreal was a financial disaster, but Calgary and Vancouver fared much better. The more we do it, the more we learn from our experiences. Canadians know it can work, but they’re a little risk averse.”

“Public-private partnerships are becoming more and more common, and this one more example of where this model could work if it helps to save taxpayers’ money,” said Simpson.

WATCH: Toronto mulls Olympic bid after successful Pan Am Games

The data, summaries and commentary in exclusive Global News / Ipsos polling are subject to copyright. The data, summaries and commentary may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper attribution to both Global News and Ipsos in all web articles, on social media, in radio broadcasts and with an on-screen credit for television. This poll was conducted between July 31 and August 5, with a sample of 1,409 Canadians (including an over-sample of 601 GTA residents total) from Ipsos’ online panel and is accurate to within +/- 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

With files from Global News’ Adam Miller

© 2015 Shaw Media

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