07.10.2015 08:30 AM

Bob Richardson, medal winner

My friend of several decades, Bob, is recognized this morning in The New York Times, no less:

“The bid, mounted in 2009, was largely the work of Bob Richardson, a public relations executive and high-level Liberal Party strategist. Mr. Richardson was a driving force in an unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games…”

The story itself is needlessly bitchy, but it was at least nice to see Bob’s efforts on behalf of amateur sport – which go back two decades – being recognized. He’s not a politician or a political staffer or a millionaire with a private jet – he’s a regular private citizen, who brought the Pan Am Games to Toronto. Think about that.

Why aren’t all the Pan Am events sold out? It has nothing to do with the Games themselves, I think, and more to do with a Toronto-centric phenomenon I have written about before: the Maple Leafs Syndrome. To wit: “…the source of the Rob Ford problem isn’t, in fact, Rob Ford. It’s the people who put him in office. It’s Torontonians themselves, afflicted as they are by Maple Leafs Syndrome. In Toronto, you can put crap on the ice, year after year — you can put trailer park trash in charge of the city — and Torontonians will keep doing what they always do about things that are a joke, a farce, a source of bottomless shame. Which is, mostly, nothing.”

In the 18 years I have been temporarily resident here, I have observed that the good people in Toronto can’t get excited about anything, ever. In all my time here, I have not once see Torontonians get worked up anything. Hell, even when Toronto had unrest at the G20, they had to import the rioters from Vancouver and Montreal.

So, don’t blame my friend Rob, or the three levels of government, for the stuff the New York Times whinges about. Blame Torontonians.

If being listless, limp and languorous were Olympic events, they’d win all the medals.


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    Matt says:

    I think a lot of people, especially those in the old City of Toronto are just looking at the Pan Am’s as a second tier event

    If it ain’t first tier, aka the Summer Olympics, people don’t care.

    Do the Leafs suck? Sure, but it’s the NHL. The Marlies have been pretty successful the past few years but only get a couple thousand people out to their games, even playoff games. Why? It’s “only” the AHL.

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    King Prick says:

    The games are a complete waste of time. A third rate circus in a third rate town. Toronto is a beige city. Bland, boring and mundane. The Pan Am Games are also bland, boring and mundane and will likely prove by the end of them, to be a complete waste of money and time. We have to ask ourselves what’s to get excited about? Is it the ridiculous amount of money wasted on facilities that are going to rot or become too expensive to maintain? How about the traffic? Should Torontonians get all happy about the fact that it’s taking hours more to commute because some trained seal in a national uniform needs to get someplace more than a working person does? Am I happy that the Metropolitan Toronto Police have seemingly mandated to make up for the shortfall in ticket sales by handing out 300 dollar fines to poor working folk that are just trying to get to their job site or office? Let’s call a spade a spade. The games were a shit idea with shit marketing. For crissakes, no country gives a shit about the Pan Am or Commonwealth Games.

    Nobody cares about the games because we all know the games don’t matter. The only truly positive thing to come from the Pan Am Games will be knowing that absolutely no person living or working in Toronto will want anything to do with that other corrupt shit show, the Olympic Games. These games, I’m almost certain, will be the final nail in the coffin of an Olympic bid. Let’s hope anyway.

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    Joel Robinson says:

    Toronto will only come out for a first class event. I did not even know the Pan Am games existed before Toronto won the bid. Toronto is a world class city and should only go for world class events. The Pan Am games seem like something a city like Winnipeg, Hamilton or St. John’s should go for. It’s too small potatoes for us. I appreciate the hard work to get these games and pull them off, but I really have no interest in them at all. And I love the Olympics!

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      BrianK says:

      Bingo. And Winnipeg did indeed host the games in 1999. I’m Toronto born and raised, I love the Olympics, and I have zero interest in these games. Why are we supposed to be excited about seeing, like, Belize play Chile in water polo? It’s the Golden Globes of amateur sport. If the Olympics were here, there would be plenty of enthusiasm.

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    ABlanas says:

    So true. It’s just a self-absorbed city core that fails to rise to anything.

    I would say, however, if you put the residents from the periphery (Scarborough, Etobicoke) in the centre, it would shine. The downtown metrosexual population and business egg-head population are the problems in respect to lack of civic spirit.

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      W the K - No, not Warren says:

      So ABlanas, where is your ugly little line of hate drawn?

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        ABlanas says:

        Ad hominem comments are inappropriate, mon ami(e)

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    nope says:

    When 2+ million people decide an event is a waste of time, money, and energy, maybe they aren’t wrong.

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    Jon Powers says:

    For me, the problem is one of games officials pleading with Torontonians to leave the city for two weeks to avoid traffic gridlock, while simultaneously asking Torontonians to come downtown to take part in the games.

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    Boucher says:

    They got pretty enthusiastic about honoring a dead raccoon

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    Tiger says:


    For one thing, who cares about the Pan Am Games? I’d show up to the Commonwealth Games, because I like the Queen, have a healthy respect for the old British Empire and for our old comrades across the West Indies, Africa, and South Asia, and know that there’s a grand athletic history associated with them (Bannister’s 4-minute mile, etc.).

    For another, if we do this well, we risk getting saddled with the Olympic Games. Which would be dreadful. Unless we get a Downtown Relief Line out of it. I’m willing to be bribed with a Relief Line for just about anything.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      I have had this exact conversation with several people– if the feds pay for a new subway line, bring on the Olympics! Otherwise don’t bloody bother, we don’t need the hassle.

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    Ridiculosity says:

    If anything was listless, limp and languorous it was the advertising behind the Games. (Score from the Russian judge: 3)

    The website blows too. Trying to find out what’s happening, when and where is a UX nightmare.

    Giving the venues secret “code names” to avoid sponsorship issues was also an asinine move.

    So was choosing a porcupine as the mascot. Everybody knows the Official Animal of Toronto is the raccoon.

    No medal awarded here.

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    Fan590 says:


    The people living in the City of Toronto did get really worked up and very excited once:

    October 1992, Blue Jays first World Series Win over the Atlanta Braves. Fun times.

    Since then, not so much.

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    Joe says:

    From a long ways away it seems about the only thing Toronto gets excited about is the gay pride parade.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      …because it’s consistently the best party in town year after year, with zero public incidents.

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    Torontonian says:

    I keep hearing that tickets aren’t selling, but every Toronto event that I’ve looked at in the hope of buying tickets (all cycling, admittedly) has been sold out.

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    Deb Taylor says:

    I might suggest that part of the problem is people who still consider themselves “temporarily resident” in this awesome city after 18 years……

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