The Pan-Am games started on July 10th, with Toronto as the host city and I couldn’t be more excited. The city is busier and more vibrant than usual this summer with tourists from all over the world visiting by the day to be apart of this huge sporting event. On Saturday, I headed on down to Nathan Phillips Square with my sister Francine, her husband Rick and my nephew Malakai, The Pan-Am playground, to meet our cousin Loma. It was just a hop skip and a jump on the Go-Train to get to the city. There were plenty of bands putting on free performances with live music from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Belize. Then band from Belize, The Garifuna Collective, hold a special place in my heart. Belize is the country of my parents’ birth. It was almost surreal to see musicians from this tiny jewel of a country, and from a remote fishing village at that, centre stage in Toronto. We get plenty of bands from Brazil and Cuba, but Belize? That is a rarity. We enjoyed the music thoroughly and even got in a few shots with some musicians from the Garifuna Collective.
We weren’t the only ones with a flag to represent. The games are all about about diversity after all. So having Toronto as a host city was very “fitting.” It was blazing hot. When I found myself complaining about the heat, I quickly put a stop to that. I complain in 30 below zero, not 30 above zero. I love the heat and the day was so sunny. There were not many places for shade, but that didn’t stop everyone from enjoying the festivities. I just made sure to keep hydrated.
My nephew Malakai enjoyed swinging on the Symphony of Swings. The swings play classical music when you sit on them and start swinging: I thought because of the intense heat, this would be the only sign of Pachi, the Pan Am mascot I would see: But no. The real Pachi came out to greet the masses. God bless the person inside this costume and I prayed he/she wouldn’t collapse from heat stroke:
Tomorrow Andy and I head off to see the Track and Field preliminaries at York University. I will be back with more from that event.