Hundreds of competitors flock to the Caledon Equestrian Park in Ontario each September to take part in the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, but that number pales in comparison to the tens of thousands that will descend on Palgrave when the Park plays host to the equestrian events of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.
Named the official Equestrian Venue of the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, work will begin at the Caledon Equestrian Park following the conclusion of this year’s Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, running September 19 to 23, 2012. Smaller upgrades and improvements are already underway, with the Caledon Equestrian Park’s major transformation scheduled for completion in time for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, which will run from July 10 to 26 and August 7 to 14, respectively.
“We host 16 events annually at the Caledon Equestrian Park, and it’s very important to us that there are no disruptions to those events during construction,” said Craig Collins, a managing partner of Equestrian Management Group (EMG), which operates the Caledon Equestrian Park. “It’s important to the sport that these events continue, and with no other venue to move to during the building phase, we had to find a way to keep competition going. Unfortunately, we can’t just shut down for two years.”
With that in mind, the build plans for the Pan Am Games were designed to be completed in several phases, with construction only occurring during the fall and winter.
“Obviously, that has added some difficulty to scheduling, but we’re very fortunate that the site allows for winter construction because of the type of soils that are here,” noted Collins. “From the very beginning, we knew that we would have to create a cycle that would allow us to build in the off-season, and I think we’ve been very successful in doing that. Riders may have to take a different route to get from one place to another, but there will be no disruptions in our ability to continue to provide world-class show jumping for the duration of construction.”
The first phase of construction will officially begin in October and is scheduled to be completed before the start of the 2013 show season. “We’ll be doing site work and servicing,” Collins explained of phase one. “We need to prepare all of the areas to be able to accommodate the new infrastructure that’s going to be put in place.”
He continued, “Competitors will start to see some minor changes in 2013. The lower stabling area needs to move in order to provide space for the additional infrastructure needed for the Games. There’s also a good chance some of the ring work will be done for the beginning of the season.”
The changes to the site will be dramatic. Phase two includes new facilities with high tech arenas (or as Collins puts it, “fancy new footing”), a new spectator area and pavilion to replace the aging infrastructure currently in place, and a new indoor facility for both competition and training purposes.
“Upon conclusion of the 2013 show season, we’ll be starting all of our major builds for the Games,” said Collins. “All of those changes will be completed in time for the 2014 season and the test event we need to run prior to the 2015 Games.”
The venue selection process is based on standards set by International Sport Federations (IFs), approval of the sport program by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), and consultation with the National Sport Federations (NSFs).
“Caledon Equestrian Park is a world-class facility that has a well-earned reputation in the international equestrian community,” said TO2015 CEO Ian Troop. “What’s more, it’s a publicly-owned facility, so the investments we’ll be making for the Pan Am Games will benefit the public for many years to come.”
That future benefit has always been the driving force behind the Park’s Pan Am Games bid. “Creating a future legacy for Canadian equestrian athletes was, by far, the key motivating factor in our bid to host the equestrian portion of the games,” Collins explained. “Our venue has enjoyed being a very popular and centrally located facility since 1986. We have always been well supported by the equestrian community. The Pan Am Games presented us with an opportunity to bring the facility to the next level, by providing us with the infusion of dollars required to do that.”
The Caledon Equestrian Park is a municipally-owned facility, and the changes being made to the site will allow an increase in operations, meaning more of the community can enjoy the world-class venue.
“As one of Canada’s premier show jumping events, the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament is a signature event for equestrian talent,” said Town of Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison. “This can only heighten the excitement about the Pan/Parapan Am Games to be held in Caledon in 2015. Our involvement with the Games not only leaves us with a lasting legacy for the sport and the community, but allows us to showcase Caledon to the world.”
For more information on the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, visit www.equiman.com