The 2015 Pan Am Games Legacy Project: The West Don Lands Athletes Village and Affordable Housing
High profile mega-events such as the Olympics and Pan-Am Games are often the topic of much public attention and discussion due to their mix of sport, politics, and commerce. However, such mega-events are subject to large costs, controversies, and complex challenges that outweigh their benefits and often reinforce dominant social groups in society. In an attempt to justify the large expenditures of hosting an event, legacy projects that incorporate some form of social benefit are promised during the bidding phase. This paper presents a case study of Toronto's mega event experience of hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games and the incorporation of affordable housing into the Athletes Village development in the West Don Lands. The research tells a familiar story of missed opportunity to fulfill the promised affordable housing targets proposed during the bidding phase. Although the public has had a largely important and effective role in developing the planning framework for the West Don Lands Precinct and Athletes Village, the decision to reduce the final number of affordable housing units ultimately lacked public input. This paper intends to generate discourse on mega events as a neoliberal tool for growth by focusing on the missed opportunities to create much needed affordable housing. This paper explores the theories, relationships, and outcomes of Toronto's experience as a means to inform future decision-making on housing provisions.