Standing in the course of BMO Field, with 2026 World Cup graphics adorning the stadium, Jonathan Osorio may solely think about what having the boys’s soccer showcase in his yard is likely to be like.
“It’s going to be one thing superb,” mentioned the Toronto FC midfielder, who has gained 62 caps for Canada and was a part of John Herdman’s group ultimately 12 months’s World Cup in Qatar. “Something that perhaps town has by no means seen. And this metropolis has seen so much.”
Toronto and Canada teammate Mark-Anthony Kaye echoed Osorio’s enthusiasm.
“Before once we used to consider Canada and World Cups, they have been at all times goals,” mentioned Kaye, who has gained 40 caps for Canada and was additionally in Qatar. “After this final one, with the ability to go there and make historical past and put our toes on the soil of the most important event on this planet, now to have it on our dwelling soil is superb.
“It’s simply going to be a actuality. We need not dream about it any extra. It’s coming. Little youngsters are going to have the ability to expertise a World Cup of their yard.”
Osorio pointed to the parade that stuffed the streets after the Toronto Raptors gained the NBA championship in 2019.
“This is soccer,” he mentioned. “And it may perhaps overtake that, perhaps not. We’ll see. But I do know it is going to be to that magnitude of help.”
Toronto FC and Canada nationwide group participant Jonathan Osorio, centre, seen throughout Thursday’s occasion at BMO Field, believes the 2026 World Cup shall be ‘one thing that perhaps [Toronto] has by no means seen’ earlier than. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)
One day after FIFA president Gianni Infantino attended a gala at Los Angeles’ historic Griffith Observatory for the disclosing of the brand and branding for the 2026 World Cup, Toronto held its personal occasion to showcase its event branding.
Thursday’s occasion came about in opposition to a backdrop of younger soccer gamers darting across the pitch with former Canadian worldwide Terry Dunfield, now coach of Toronto FC’s under-17 academy group, amongst these directing the on-field site visitors.
For Sharon Bollenbach, appointed in February as government director of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Toronto, Thursday was “the primary milestone of many to return” in co-hosting the expanded 48-team World Cup with Mexico and the U.S.
Bollenbach says the purpose is to placed on the very best event potential, but in addition to raise the game of soccer in Canada and encourage a brand new technology.
“And then we need to interact [the] neighborhood,” she mentioned. “One of the nice issues about Toronto as a bunch for the World Cup is that we’re a world in a metropolis. Any group that may come right here will nearly be taking part in a house match.”
FIFA World Cup 2026 government director Sharon Bollenbach speaks to media after unveiling the official #WeAre26 model consciousness marketing campaign in Toronto on Thursday. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)
But just like the Olympics, the World Cup additionally serves as one big commercial for town and nation. Every sport in Canada represents a chance to showcase the very best facet of the area.
“The viewership on a World Cup is out of this world. All of these eyeballs are going to be on Toronto,” mentioned Bollenbach.
And additionally on Vancouver, Canada’s different host metropolis. The U.S. will host video games in 11 cities and Mexico in three.
The unique blueprint was for Canada and Mexico to host 10 video games every with the U.S. staging the remaining 60. But Canada may see extra video games, given FIFA’s choice to revamp the format to have 104 matches in whole
Bollenbach, who was simply in Miami to satisfy with different host cities to change concepts and listen to from the Qatar event organizers, mentioned extra data on Canada’s video games may come within the fall.
Bollenbach spent the final 16 years with Special Olympics Canada, most lately as CEO. But earlier than that she served as GM for the Toronto leg of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Scott Beck, president and CEO of Destination Toronto, says the World Cup is a catalyst.
“We’re now a part of a neighborhood that is internet hosting the world’s greatest occasion. And that is highly effective,” mentioned Beck, a former president and CEO of Utah’s Visit Salt Lake. “It says so much about who you’re as a neighborhood. And I do know firsthand, personally, the legacy this creates for a neighborhood.
“I used to be in Salt Lake for 16 years once we have been the host for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and I noticed personally what it did for the youth of our neighborhood to have entry to what they’re enthusiastic about.
“And the legacy from that’s nonetheless occurring to this present day and what’s has executed to winter sports activities within the state of Utah. That’s going to occur right here.”
One beneficiary might be the Canadian ladies’s professional league that former Canadian worldwide Diana Matheson is spearheading. She plans to have the eight-team league kick off in 2025 to profit from that World Cup highlight, realizing the event shall be adopted by the 2027 Women’s World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.