Toronto Mayor John Tory provided a pep talk pooh-pooing Pan Am pessimism by Torontonians testy over tepid ticket sales and temporary traffic troubles.
“I don’t know why we focus on the glass being half empty as opposed to half full,” Tory said at Ontario Place Wednesday about news that 650,000 tickets — or 60 per cent of tickets — have been sold.
“Let’s get positive about this,” added Tory, standing beside Premier Kathleen Wynne and Pan Am Minister Michael Coteau at Ontario Place.
“We should get out of the old Toronto mentality, and I’ll speak for Toronto because I’m the mayor, and I won’t associate my two friends here with putting down how we act here sometimes, but we do.”
“We look at the negative. This is going to be a great event. The tickets are going to be sold,” he maintained.
“I haven’t bought my tickets yet. And I have to buy tickets as a person like anybody else…but I procrastinate as people do. And I think we should stop talking about this, and talk about the good news the premier just talked about.”
Tory recalled talking to an acquaintance from Vancouver last week who mentioned a Women’s World Cup game was half-sold until a flurry of ticket buying in the last few days.
“People got into the excitement of the whole thing.”
It was all music to Wynne’s ears.
“It’s a great point,” she said, grinning widely.
“There is a different buzz about the Pan Am games…than there was a week ago. You can tell people are getting more excited about it, there are more stories about the athletes. It’s very clear that we’re getting ready,” she added.
“I want to make to just make sure everybody here’s got their tickets.”
Coteau said the sales of 650,000 tickets makes the games 60 per cent sold, excluding events at the new Hamilton soccer stadium that seats 22,000 and for which sales of early games are slow.
“A lot of the venues have sold out,” Coteau told reporters.
“It’s more than just the tickets, it’s about the legacy, it’s about building up Ontario, it’s about building up our athletes.”