Pan Am World Cafes

In the lead-up to the Pan Am Games, we have been organizing a series of discussion/learning events so that people have the chance to hear from a number of people about how the Pan Am Games will be impacting the city of Toronto. World cafes are facilitated events where a number of different tables with assigned ‘topics’ are set up around a room; throughout the time spent together, participants rotate from table to table, hearing from each facilitator and participating in different conversations on related topics.

The first world cafe, held in March 2015, was called Get to Know Pan Am: the Displacement Behind the Spectacle. Representatives from MISN, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, and OCAP facilitated tables about different ways that mega-sporting events like the Pan Am Games can contribute to the displacement of marginalized people.

For more about this event, click here. 

The second world cafe is coming up on July 2nd, 2015, and is called Get to Know Pan Am: the Securitization of the Spectacle. Representatives from MISN, Butterfly, OCAP, and Black Lives Matter – Toronto will be facilitating tables on the subject of policing, criminalization, and mega sporting events.

As a mining justice group, we can see that corporate mega-projects at home like the Pan Am Games have strong similarities to industrial Canadian mining projects abroad – these projects get used as launching pads to justify and elicit the spread and intensification of police violence and repression in the name of ‘economic development’ and ‘revitalization’. State investments in these mega-projects bring giant security investments that often don’t end once the project comes to a close. These processes are not exceptions; they are a staple of policing in many communities, including mining-impacted communities.

Here in Toronto (as in many places), we know that an increase in policing is not going to impact all community members in the same way. Poor, black, indigenous, migrant, sex working, and otherwise criminalized communities will most definitely face the brunt of this violence. The Pan Am Games will also increase the profile of Canadian mining company Barrick Gold, who is providing the athletes’ medals and whose security forces around the world are responsible for assassination, rape, and other forms of targeted violence against community members who fight back.

Light snacks and TTC tokens will be provided. We will have a designed childcare person who will have some art supplies available, but children are also welcome to participate in the discussion! OISE is a wheelchair accessible space; please let us know if there are any other access needs that we can meet! Unfortunately no ASL interpretation will be available.


While it’s important to talk and learn, it’s also important to act. Please consider attending and participating in the following upcoming actions related to the Pan Am Games and the Pan Am Economic Summit that’s happening just before the games begin!

– July 8th – No One Is Illegal – TO — #RiseUpTO

– July 16th – Ontario Coalition Against Poverty — Housing For All

– July 10th-26th – Spoil Sports & Smear Leaders: Street Theatre vs. the Pan Am Games