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Government Funding Fuelling Toronto’s FIFA World Cup Dreams | UrbanToronto

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As the city of Toronto gears up to host six matches of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, an infusion of federal and provincial funding totalling over $200 million marks a significant leap in Canada’s sporting landscape. Toronto will host a total of six matches, including the first-ever FIFA World Cup men’s match on Canadian soil, a testament to the city’s capacity to manage and elevate what is arguably the largest sporting event in the world.

Looking northeast across Exhibition Place to BMO Field, expanded for the FIFA World Coup 2026, image courtesy of MLSE

Announced last week, the federal government’s commitment of $104.34 million and the province’s $97 million pledge are joined by a significant contribution of $170 million from the City of Toronto, underlining the nation-wide collective effort to turn the dream of a Canadian-hosted FIFA World Cup into a reality. These efforts are earmarked not just for the immediate logistical needs of hosting the games but are investments in the city’s long-term vision: enhancing Toronto’s venues and facilities to world-class standards.

Toronto projects its hosting expenses for the elite global competition to be approximately $380 million, reflecting an $80 million increase from initial 2022 estimates. In response to concerns about the city’s ability to manage these costs, Mayor Olivia Chow stated, ‘The bid is signed. We will move forward. I will do my best to contain the costs.’

Mayor Olivia Chow speaks at the funding announcement for the FIFA 2026 World Cup in Toronto, image via X

Last week, Mayor Chow introduced new oversight and advisory committees aimed at managing preparations for the escalating costs of the event. She stated that about a third of the overall expenditure is allocated for policing and security, with a significant portion of the budget also directed towards enhancing BMO Field to meet FIFA’s capacity requirements of over 45,000 fans.

These enhancements include the installation of 17,500 temporary seats, which will be dismantled post-event, and the construction of an outdoor fan centre for public viewing of the matches. Additional infrastructure upgrades at BMO Field will include new broadcast studios, staircases, and an elevator to ensure the stadium aligns with international standards. These renovations are being led by Arena Event Services, a United Arab Emirates-based firm, in collaboration with local suppliers.

Preliminary concept, expanded stadium layout, image courtesy of MLSE

In a move designed to embody the city more as a venue and to align with the global branding typical of such an international event, BMO Field is also set to be temporarily dubbed ‘Toronto Stadium’ for the duration of the tournament.

The economic impact is expected to be substantial, reflecting the event’s potential to boost economies across Toronto, the province, and the country. The event is expected to generate over $393 million in GDP for the city of Toronto and create nearly 3,600 jobs, bringing an influx of over 300,000 out-of-town visitors. The Province of Ontario is expected to benefit with more than $456 million in generated GDP.

Looking northwest across BMO Field with added north and south stands, image courtesy of MLSE

In the larger narrative of Toronto’s sports legacy, the FIFA World Cup is more than just a series of games; it is a celebration of the city’s global stature and its embrace of world-class events. As Canada and the city of Toronto prepares for its role in this extraordinary global event, it looks to reinforce its identity as a city of resilience, diversity, and vibrance for the global stage.

View from added south stands at BMO Field, image courtesy of MLSE

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you’d like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

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