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May 11, 2007
BMO Field opens at Exhibition Place
Opening ceremonies include International Friendly Match between Canada and Argentina.

Today the governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto officially opened the new BMO Field, the 20,000-seat soccer stadium at Exhibition Place. The stadium will be the site of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Men’s Under-20 World Cup – Canada 2007, expected to be the largest single-sport event ever held in Canada.

The Honourable Helena Guergis, Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport) and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Health Promotion, Peter Fonseca, representing Minister Jim Watson, together with Toronto Mayor David Miller and Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Chair of the Board of Governors for Exhibition Place, held a media conference before speaking at the opening ceremonies. Following the opening ceremonies, Canada and Argentina held an International Friendly Match.

The soccer stadium was built with support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto and private sector partner Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE). MLSE, who oversaw the stadium construction which was completed in 468 days on budget, will manage the stadium on behalf of the City of Toronto.

The facility is home to Major League Soccer's Toronto FC and Canada's National Soccer teams. It will also serve as a gathering point for thousands of amateur players in the Greater Toronto Area. The new stadium features a winter bubble roof that covers the playing surface during colder months guaranteeing community use throughout the year.

“Canada’s New Government is pleased to have contributed $27 million towards BMO Field, Canada’s National Soccer Stadium, which will make a positive contribution to the economy here and to the GTA,” said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the GTA.

“The new soccer stadium will allow Toronto to host world-class soccer events and also provide local players with a venue for sport and recreation,” said Secretary of State Guergis. “This government recognizes the need to provide our athletes with state-of-the-art facilities to help them achieve athletic excellence.”

“I’m extremely pleased that the McGuinty government has invested in this new sports facility particularly because our agreement ensures significant access for local community groups and soccer clubs,” said Ontario Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson earlier. “Access to sport, physical activity and recreation facilities for all Ontarians is a key component to our government's strategy to increase participation in sport and physical activity.”

"The National Soccer Stadium kicks off a new era for sports and tourism,” said Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Health Promotion Peter Fonseca. “This world-class facility will put Ontario on the map as a premier destination for international sporting events.”

“The City of Toronto is committed to building a thriving and diverse waterfront and enhancing our public spaces for the enjoyment of all Torontonians,” said Mayor David Miller. “It’s only fitting that the world’s game – soccer – finds a new home on the shores of a city made of the world’s citizens – Toronto.”

“Exhibition Place is one of Canada’s premier destinations and Toronto’s key venue for public celebration, large events, festivals and community events,” said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone. “BMO Field furthers this by providing year-round access to world class matches and a home for the sport to grow in Canada.”

“We're excited to be a key contributor to this city building project that supports the growth and development of soccer at both the professional and amateur levels,” said MLSE President & CEO Richard Peddie. “BMO Field is an exceptional facility that serves as a new stage in Toronto to create economic growth, increase tourism and bring global events such as FIFA U20 World Cup to our city.”

The Government of Canada works with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as with the private sector, to meet strategic infrastructure needs throughout the country. In Budget 2007, Canada's New Government announced a historic investment of more than $16 billion over seven years in infrastructure, bringing federal support under a new long-term plan for infrastructure to a total of $33 billion. Ontario will benefit directly from this new funding.

The Ontario government contributed $8 million for the construction of the stadium, consistent with the province’s strategy to increase participation in sport and physical activity and invest in sport infrastructure.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is a privately held corporate that is one of the premier sports and entertainment companies in the world. It owns the most coveted sports and entertainment enterprises including Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Toronto Marlies Hockey Club of the American Hockey League (AHL), Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, Air Canada Centre, Maple Leaf Square and two digital channels — Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV. Being leaders in the community is a core value of MLSE.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

For further information, contact:

Bruce Sudds,
City of Toronto

Linda Hann
Manager, Communications
Industry Canada

Jeffrey Kroeker
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Donald Boulanger
A/Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

Julie Rosenberg, Communications
Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion



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