TORONTO – Mayor John Tory officially announced Tuesday Toronto will not bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
“Toronto can be an Olympic city and Toronto is already a world class city,” Tory said during a press conference at Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall. “I am not saying no to the Olympics. I am saying not this time.”
The deadline to submit a letter of interest to the International Olympic Committee was Sept. 15.
“It’s not my job to be rash. It’s my job to make the best decision for Toronto and I’ve decided not to submit a letter to the IOC,” said the mayor.
WATCH: ‘Not this time’ says Tory as Toronto passes on Olympic bid
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Tory said without the support from private sponsors or higher levels of government, it would not be a wise decision to submit a letter of interest and proceed with an Olympic bid.
“No one was rushing forward to hand me big cheques,” Tory said.
Tory said the estimated $50 to $60 million needed to submit a formal bid would be better allocated for improving social housing, transit and infrastructure.
“The truth is, I can’t look people in the eye at this point in our city’s development and tell them that an Olympic bid is the best use of our time, our energy, or our investment,” he said.
WATCH: Tory: ‘I can’t look people in eye’ on Olympic bid but will form group to explore other events
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) released a statement Tuesday respecting the mayor’s decision despite the group having voted last week to support the city’s bid.
“We remain optimistic Toronto could and should host the Olympic Games in the future,” said COC President Marcel Aubut.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee is determined to have the Olympics back in the country at the earliest opportunity.”
Tory said he will be assembling an advisory committee to help make informed decisions on the possibility of hosting other international events.
“I am announcing today that I will form an advisory group to look at the merits of competing for future events,” Tory said.
“[Events] such as a Winter or Summer Olympics, the World Cup of soccer, a world expo or other world championships which can vastly improve sports infrastructure.”
The Olympics sparked differing opinions from politicians, locally, provincially and nationally.
Toronto city council has been divided on whether Tory should have proceeded with an Olympic bid, with many believing it was not a fiscally responsible decision.
Councillor Gord Perks firmly opposed the idea of an Olympic bid and says he pleased with the Mayor’s decision.
“If we had gone down the Olympic road, all of those decisions would have gotten a lot more complicated,” Perks said.
“All the air would have been sucked out of the room and we wouldn’t have been able to solve important problems.”
Councillor Gary Crawford was previously on the fence when it came to considering an Olympic bid but he now also believes Tory made the right decision.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” he said.
“[Questions] I had – as the budget chair – who’s going to be paying for this bid and where is the support coming from.” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said Monday he didn’t want to see the possibility of Toronto hosting the Olympics off the table.
“I don’t think we should shut the door to that bid,” Mulcair said. “I think they would do well to get the first step done and to keep that door open.”
READ MORE: Mulcair wants to keep door open for Toronto Olympic bid while Wynne undecided
Last week, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said council voted unanimously not to support Toronto if it were to pursue the Summer Olympics.
“Without a comprehensive business case which details the budget implications and financial requests Mississauga taxpayers would be asked to commit to as part of this collective effort, Council could not proceed with supporting a Toronto bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in such a short timeframe,” Crombie said in a statement.
READ MORE: Rob Ford, Mississauga mayor against Toronto bid for 2024 Olympic Games
Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Budapest, Hungary and Hamburg, Germany have said they will be in the running to host, with the winning city to be selected in 2017.
Frank Spottke, who is visiting Toronto from Cologne, Germany, said he’s happy Toronto is no longer pursuing a bid.
“As a German, I like it because competitors are Hamburg and I would love it if the Olympic Games would come to Hamburg,” he said.
“But it’s a pity for Toronto that they don’t apply for the Olympic Games because it’s a huge event where international audience is coming and it gives a town a special spirit”
Toronto unsuccessfully bid for the 1996 and 2008 Olympics and Tory has said he doesn’t want to lead a third failed bid.