TORONTO – The Pan Am Games are set to kick off today with a sold-out opening ceremony in Toronto.
Roughly 45,000 spectators are expected at the Rogers Centre — called the Pan Am Ceremonies Venue for the duration of the Games — for the performance tonight.
Cirque du Soleil has guarded details of the 150-minute presentation carefully, noting that 625 performers representing 25 nationalities will take part.
Officials have also promised that the show will include surprise appearances from several Canadian sports legends, and that current Pan Am athletes will be part of the show’s “set design.”
Cirque du Soleil creative director Jean Guibert said the show would feature audience participation and a clear story that has a “beginning and an end.”
He also pledged that the opening ceremony would appeal to younger audiences.
“We decided to blend many new disciplines … (including) extreme sports, dance, hip hop, acrobatics together, to do a show that is young and fresh.”
The ceremony will also include the lighting of the cauldron, which sits at the base of the CN Tower, and the Parade of Nations celebrating the event’s 41 participating countries.
The Pan Am Games run through July 26.