Ottawa commits $104M to help Toronto host 2026 World Cup games

The federal government says it will provide $104 million to help Toronto host six matches at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The funding for capital and operational expenses was announced Friday morning at Toronto’s BMO Field, where the matches will be held.

“Today is a great day to be a soccer fan in the city of Toronto,” Mayor Olivia Chow said.

Toronto has estimated its portion of hosting the elite international soccer competition will cost $380 million, an increase of $80 million compared to a 2022 forecast.

Chow recently announced new oversight and advisory groups to help prepare for the increasingly costly event.

Roughly a third of the total expense will go toward policing and security, according to Chow, while a considerable portion of capital costs will be for adding temporary seating to BMO Field and constructing an outdoor fan centre where spectators can watch matches on televisions.

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Toronto and Vancouver are slated to host 13 FIFA World Cup games in 2026, and the security budgets have gone up by tens of millions of dollars. Some are asking if it’s worth it.

The provincial government already committed $97 million in funding in February. The city will contribute $170 million, Chow said.

“I’m just very excited to be receiving over $100 million from the federal government,” she told reporters after the announcement. “Combine that with the provincial contribution, we are all set to go for FIFA World Cup ’26.”

Asked if the city can afford those costs, Chow said: “The bid is signed. We will move forward. I will do my best to contain the costs.”

Federal Sports Minister Carla Qualtrough said the Canadian government will also help with border services, security and intelligence and work visas, as well as co-ordinate the more than 40 federal departments and agencies involved in the event.

“It’s a work in progress in terms of what those resources will be,” said Qualtrough. “But we have looked over the next two years and anticipate being able to absorb those costs within existing resources.”

The city expects the World Cup to create more than 3,500 jobs, attract 300,000 out-of-town visitors and generate approximately $393 million in gross domestic product for Toronto and $456 million in GDP for Ontario.

Vancouver will also host games at the elite international soccer competition, which Canada is co-hosting with the United States and Mexico. Officials announced Tuesday that hosting seven World Cup games at BC Place Stadium could cost up to $581 million, more than double the estimate from two years ago.

The federal government committed to providing $116 million in funding for the Vancouver matches.

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