By Gary Anderson

The 84km Pan Am Path in Toronto will criss-cross the city in the build-up to, during and after the Pan American and Parapan American Games ©Pan Am PathThe Pan Am Path, which will connect the east and west of Toronto, has been officially launched after a new section was opened today ahead of the city's hosting of the Pan American and Parapan American Games next year.

The newly completed section in Cruickshank Park was opened by Toronto City Councillor Frances Nunziata, and will form part of an 84-kilometre continuous path for walking, running, cycling and wheeling that connects the city from east to west.

Much of the route lies on existing trails and pathways and work has been underway to add new connections, route improvements and signs to provide a recreation and transportation route that will serve as a functional connection to various Pan Am Games venues during the summer of 2015.

"By establishing this unique link to many of Toronto's diverse neighbourhoods and communities, the Pan Am Path will create opportunities for art and music, public space enrichment, tourism and commerce," said Toronto deputy Mayor, Norm Kelly.

"The Path is a perfect example of the celebration, investment and legacy that the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will bring to Toronto.

"I encourage all residents to cycle and walk on the path - it's a great way to be physically active and learn more about our city."

Today's launch event featured an art activation by UrbanArts and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a guided bike ride on the path.

A walking tour of the local area was led by walking group Jane's Walk.

The Pan Am Path will provide opportunities for walking, running and cycling across the city of Toronto ©Pan Am PathThe Pan Am Path will provide opportunities for walking, running and cycling across the city of Toronto ©Pan Am Path

Organisers say that in the weeks leading up to the Games, the  Pan Am Path will feature art installations, cultural activities and mini-celebration events to showcase the vibrant communities that exist along the route.

These events will spread throughout 21 wards at 14 locations and feature 21 local organisations and artists co-ordinated by the Friends of the Pan Am Path, a not-for-profit organisation working to raise funds to curate the programming.

The path is one of a number of projects included in the Host City Showcase Programme, which was approved by the Toronto City Council in 2013, and aims to enhance the experience of the Games for residents and visitors while advancing the city's economic development and tourism, sport development and healthy living, along with resident engagement and cultural celebration goals.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and the fourth largest in North America, with a population of around 2.8 million people.

The city was awarded the Pan American and Parapan American Games in 2009 ahead of bids from Lima, Peru and Bogota in Colombia.

The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games are due to take place from July 10 to 26 and will be followed by the Parapan American Games which take place from August 7 to 15.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related Stories
June 2014: 
Two-day Festival to mark one-year countdown to Toronto 2015 next month
May 2014: Toronto 2015 on course to deliver best Parapan American Games, says Campo
March 2014: Toronto 2015 signs agreement to recognise role of indigenous Huron-Wendat Nation
March 2014: Government resignation demanded over spiralling security cost of Toronto 2015
July 2013: Canada marks two-year countdown to Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games