Our View: No more Olympics for Canada?

Maybe it's better not to have any more games for a while, given the price tag.

Toronto will not bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, extending another long period in which it’s unlikely that either a summer or winter Olympics will be held in North America.

That may be a very good thing.

It cost VANOC $1.9 billion to stage the games, but the total cost including infrastructure was closer to $7 billion. So while the games themselves broke even, the province and feds spent quite a bit on new roads, the Canada Line, and venues.

Some of that was needed. Richmond is fast growing and needed its SkyTrain extension, and improving the Sea to Sky Highway will reduce crashes.

But basing infrastructure spending around a brief sporting event is no way to do long-term planning. Maybe Surrey and Langley should host the 2024 games – we might actually get some better bus and light rail service sometime in the next decade.

While Vancouver broke even on the games themselves, that has not been the experience of many recent host countries. Russia spent about $50 billion on its winter Olympics, China $40 billion on its 2008 summer games, London about $14.6 billion in 2012.

Canada has done better than most when it hosts games – most of the infrastructure keeps being used, but the Olympic Village itself proved a huge headache for both the City of Vancouver and buyers.

More than anything, it’s increasingly hard in a post-recession, slow-growth world to stomach being told that we’re going to have to tighten our belts, retire later, work harder, save more on our own – and then watch the government splash out money to host an event that’s over in less than a month.

In light of these issues, it’s no surprise that Toronto is opting out. It’s possible that someday the Olympics will become more about sport than spectacle, more about the athletes than national medal contests, and maybe then they’ll be cheap enough to host again.

– M.C.



Just Posted

Young Langley family plagued by angry cab customers

A couple rents a house formerly used by a cab firm, and unwelcome visitors knocking.

Woman groped on Langley’s 208th Street

Police are asking for tips to identify the man responsible.

PHOTOS: Family Day a success at Aldergrove Telephone Museum

A record number of people visited the Telephone Museum on Monday to tour the historic exhibits.

Fort jazz fest on the search for young talent

Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival is looking for their first “Rising Young Star.”

VIDEO: Langley wrestler takes gold at high school games

Victory felt like a comeback for D.W. Poppy student Parm Sidhu

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Most Read