It took 700 workers and $1 million a day for more than two years, but developers are ready to hand off the Pan Am Athlete’s Village to the games’ organizers on time as they unveiled the last brick at the site Tuesday.

A collaboration between Dundee Kilmer and Waterfront Toronto, Canary District will be home to about 10,000 athletes and officials from 41 countries during next summer’s Pan and Parapan American Games, after which the area will become one of the biggest “urban villages” ever constructed in Toronto.

“Delay was not an option, we had to deliver on time for the athletes when they arrive here next summer,” said Ken Tanenbaum, the vice chairman of the Kilmer Group.

Considering the West Don Lands was an industrial wasteland only a few years ago — the development broke ground in May 2012 and has since built up its pipes, streets and buildings from flat earth — a 95 per cent completion mark with a year to go until Southern Ontario plays host to the world is a big feat. As of September, six Pan Am facilities in Toronto, Milton, Markham and Hamilton are months behind schedule, reported The Globe and Mail.

“It’s really a testament to the great team that we brought together to undertake this project and…who all leaned in to make sure that the athletes were going to not be sleeping in my basement,” Tanenbaum said.


Planning for the area’s redevelopment began in 2001 by The City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, Infrastructure Ontario and local community groups.

“The A-team has delivered the A-product,” Tanenbaum said.

After the games, the 35-acres of land will convert into a walkable neighbourhood with a variety of housing, including 810 condominium units, 253 affordable housing units and a George Brown College residence with 500 student-housing beds, as well as two condo towers and a YMCA.

The neighbourhood was designed to meet LEED Gold Standards, including the integration of green roofs, low-flow toilets, bicycle storage and parking, car-share program, and electric recharging stations.

The total cost of the project rings in at $541 million.

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