The 2026 FIFA World Cup matches will be held in Canada for the first time

The 2026 FIFA World Cup matches will be held in Canada for the first time

Vancouver and Toronto will have to change to host the popular tournament.

On Thursday, June 16, 2022, the winners of the competition for the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup games were announced. Among the 22 applications submitted, 11 cities in the United States, three in Mexico and — for the first time in a men's tournament — two cities in Canada were selected.

Vancouver and Toronto, as approved host cities, will be obliged to meet stipulated conditions: for example, the upgrading and significant expansion of Toronto's BMO Field and the equipping of Vancouver's BC Place with natural turf are essential parts of the agreement.

Milena Parent, professor of sports event management at the University of Ottawa, notes that much of the infrastructure is ready and only minor repairs are needed. She believes that special attention will be paid to the transportation system due to the fact that an unprecedented influx of fans from different parts of the world is planned.

One solution to the transit problem could be the return of HOV lanes to Toronto. High Occupancy Vehicle Lane (HOV) is a lane on a highway designed for vehicles with a driver and at least one passenger, i.e. cars without passengers are not allowed to drive there. Usually such a lane is separated from other lanes by special markings or a barrier. HOVs were successfully introduced in 2015 during the Pan American Games.

Of course, all this will require a considerable investment: about $93.8 million CAD for Toronto alone. However, city officials are confident that the benefits of hosting the tournament will outweigh any costs. At last count, the championship could potentially bring up to $307 million CAD into the local economy. In addition, it is planned to create 3,300 jobs.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who has been actively promoting his city's bid, reacted to the news with great enthusiasm: "It will be great for the game, it will be great for the city, it will be great for the economy, it will be great for the spirit of the city."

Edmonton was also a contender to host the games, but it was not approved.

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