Toronto is hosting 2026 World Cup games. Here’s what you need to know

Click to play video: 'Canada announces $104M funding for Toronto to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026'
Canada announces $104M funding for Toronto to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026
WATCH: Canada announces $104M funding for Toronto to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026 – May 3, 2024

A major announcement from FIFA on Sunday brought new clarity to what the 2026 World Cup in Toronto will look like.

Canada, the United States and Mexico have successfully banded together for a tri-country hosting bid to hold the next tournament across the entire North American continent.

In a televised event Sunday, FIFA laid out how matches would be divided between the three nations and their 16 host cities.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How many games will Toronto get?

Both Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s other host city, will be given five group stage games each.

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BMO Field on Toronto’s waterfront will also host five group stage games and a Round of 32 knock-out game, for a total of six World Cup fixtures. They will all be in the early stages of the competition.

Toronto will host games on the following days in 2026:

  • June 12
  • June 17
  • June 20
  • June 23
  • June 26
  • July 2

Who will play in Toronto?

Qualification for the 2026 World Cup is not yet complete, meaning the vast majority of fixtures are yet to be decided.

The host countries, however, automatically qualify for the competition, meaning the dates and locations for Canada, Mexico and the United States to play are set.

Canada will open their tournament at home at Toronto’s BMO Field on June 12. They will play their other two fixtures at Vancouver’s B.C. Place.

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The other matches to take place in Toronto will not be revealed until closer to the tournament.

How much will the World Cup cost Toronto?

The latest cost World Cup hosting estimates from City of Toronto staff sit at around $300 million, an increase from the initial estimate of around $290 million.

The $300 million estimate was drawn up in 2022 when Toronto was expecting to host a maximum of five games; it will now host six.

City staff had hoped that cost would be split three ways with the municipal, provincial and federal governments.

The Ontario government recently conditionally committed to $97 million in funding, with a series of strings attached. The federal government has indicated it plans to pay up too, but has not revealed details of how much it will spend.

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Toronto has already signed a controversial deal with Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment (MLSE), the group that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Football Club.

That deal gives MLSE a leading role in delivering the city’s World Cup vision, indemnifying it from responsibility for cost overruns or construction delays.

Will the competition boost Toronto?

Those who have supported Toronto’s World Cup vision are convinced it will yield benefits.

Former mayor John Tory said the money would be worth it and return to the city as tourists and soccer fans descend upon Toronto.

“I think the return on those monies is going to be gigantic in terms of jobs and investment — actual economic activity during the World Cup — (and) the reputation of that,” he said at the end of 2022.

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The 2026 soccer matches would attract around 174,000 overnight visitors and book out 292,000 room nights, city staff have estimated. This would generate roughly $3.5 million in municipal accommodation tax revenue.

Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in economics at Concordia University, has cautioned that the projected benefits of the competition don’t factor in tourists who would already have been in Toronto or  Vancouver during the busy summer season.

He said both cities are already well-known globally and so he questions how much of a profile boost they may receive from the matches.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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