Are You Ready for Pan Am?

Posted by Megan on June 5, 2015

Pan Ambling

Hello again friends,

With more than 7,000 athletes involved in this year’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games — as well as their many family, friends and fans who will be accompanying them on this experience —  it is vital that we talk about something relatively small yet important.


Canadians have a reputation internationally for being polite, almost to a fault. People around the world often joke about how often the typical Canadian supposedly apologizes on any given day. Yet in the spirit of the Games — “United We Play”— I say we try our best to live up to that generous stereotype to help provide our international visitors with the best, and most welcoming, experience possible.

Image Source.
Canadians at their politest. Image source.

How, you ask? You might think that it isn’t hard to be a kind, friendly person, but there are some important additional factors to keep in mind. Odds are high that at least one out-of-town visitor will stop you in the street this summer — are you prepared to give directions to a venue, indicate where the nearest washroom is, or even answer a question related more specifically to the Games?

Some of these situations will be easier to handle than others, so to level the playing field, the City of Toronto has created a great voluntary online training program, “We’ve Been Expecting You“, for those who want to feel a little more prepared. While the Games boast a team of more than 20,000 volunteers, remember that each of us also serves as an unofficial representative for our city and/or campus. Let’s put our best foot forward and start learning some Games etiquette.

A screencap of the We've Been Expecting You website.
This is a screen cap of the program main page, available at

We’ve Been Expecting You (WBEY) is composed of three 15-minute modules that can be taken in any order. The first focuses on customer service, the second on Toronto and the third on the Games themselves. But first, take a step back and create an account. The process is simple, as you won’t have to provide a lot of information. In fact, it took me less than 30 seconds to set up my account!

Think you don’t have enough time to go through the training modules? Create an account anyway! Why? Handy, mobile-friendly toolkits also available on WBEY summarize the most important information in an engaging, visually pleasing format.

Protip: Go through the modules and/or toolkits while taking transit to or from campus — it’s an easy way to multitask and make your trip pass more quickly.

A screencap of the three modules - customer service, about toronto, toronto 2015 pan am/parapan am games - that are available to study.
A screen cap of the three available modules to engage with. I like that you can pick and choose – for example, if you aren’t working with customers during the Games, you can skip the first module entirely, though maybe not the really helpful toolkit.

Download toolkit PDFs onto your device by simply clicking the link in the module of your choice. Even if you aren’t working in customer service during the Games, I still highly recommend looking through the first toolkit as a starting point for anyone. Page 2 (out of 4) is the most useful, focusing on a concept known as The Four Ps: being Prepared, Proactive, Proud and Positive. This is really the kind of energy that we want to embody for the Games.

The toolkits for “About Toronto” and “Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games” are much longer, ranging from 15 to 24 pages. I found the information provided quite interesting, easy to absorb, and I learned a surprising amount for my own purposes. The “About Toronto” toolkit, for example,  has a section titled “Neighbourhoods and Districts.” It describes each TO neighbourhood, highlighting common attractions, local businesses and the general feel of each place. After reading, I just wanted to go out and explore our city — hopefully it will make you feel the same way too!

My blogging colleague Sam Elsley asked a few Lions what they thought of welcoming visitors to Toronto and York; here’s what they had to say:

Check out Welcome to Pan Ambling (the link featured at the end of Sam’s video) for a better idea of what to expect from my blog.

What do you think, will you be giving “We’ve Been Expecting You” a try? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, tweet me @yorkustudents, or even post to York University’s Facebook page. I will try to respond within 24 hours.

Until next time!

Politely ambling onwards,





Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

See other posts by Megan

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