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Countdown to Toronto's Pan Am Games: 1 year away

Pachi the porcupine is unveiled as the new mascot for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto, July 17, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

Exactly one year from Thursday, Toronto will host the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Around 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials, 20,000 volunteers, and about 250,000 visitors will descend upon southern Ontario, including Toronto.

The Games will be held in 32 venues across 13 municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The countdown clock will be unveiled at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday, leading to a two-day Pan Am festival outside Toronto City Hall that features prominent athletes, a sampling of Pan American cuisine, fireworks, Pan Am sports skills, and more. Click here for more details.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Community Safety said the estimated total costs for securing the Games will increase to around $239 million from the previous estimate of $206 million.

The total price, including security, transportation and the athletes’ village, will drive the cost of Toronto’s Pan Am Games to an estimated $2.5 billion.

In June, reports suggested construction on some key facilities is behind schedule and over budget, including the $145.7-million Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium and the $56-million Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome.

However, Pan American Games CEO Saad Rafi said the facilities will be ready for the Games.

The Globe reported the BMX track in Etobicoke was estimated to cost $1.5 million, but is now projected to cost at least $4.4-million.

The Pan Am Games will be held July 10-26, while Parapan American Games take place Aug 7-15.

The construction and gridlock leading up to Games has certainly had drivers talking. Do you have “Pan-Am-demonium”?

With files from The Canadian Press