Toronto Pan Am Names

[Cache #204]

By Andris Pone – President, Coin Branding

On the question of whether to use initials in a name, the rule is clear: (almost) never. For example, when you have a Franken-name like this…

CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Athletics Stadium

…there is no hope of anyone ever remembering it, and maybe ever even saying it. (If you do happen to hear someone saying it, rest assured they either work for CIBC or CBC, the latter being the Games’ broadcaster, and perhaps contractually obligated to stumble repeatedly over the full name, one that rolls off the tongue like a couch down the prairie.) So you might as well abbreviate it, as officials have done thusly:


Which is an acronym that makes absolutely no sense. Until you realize – aha! – that the venue is at York University. Then, the thing that doesn’t make sense is the exclusion of “York” from the name of the venue. And here is just one indication that the naming conventions in use by the Pan Am people are unclear. In some cases, the location of the venue is included in the name and hence acronym, and in others it is not. For example, the abbreviation for Atos Markham Pan Am / Parapan Am Centre is MAR.

And then we have the acronym for the Oshawa Sports Centre, which, according to the two conventions in use above, should be something like OSH (although many locals would get a good laugh out of ‘SHWA). But instead it is OBX – because it uses a different convention that refers to one of the sports being held there, being boxing. A convention which, if followed for YOR and MAR, would transform those acronyms to YAT (athletics being held at York) and MTT (table tennis being held in Markham).

I would like to propose a new abbreviation scheme that is less obsessed about cramming a long name into just three letters, and more concerned with actually grabbing attention and conveying meaning. For example:

Current name: Chevrolet Beach Volleyball Centre
Current acronym: PBV
Proposed acronym: BUM

Current name: Oshawa Sports Centre (boxing)
Current acronym: OBX
Proposed acronym: ABI

Current name: Pan Am Bowling Centre
Current acronym: PLB
Proposed acronym: X

The possibilities are endless. Any ideas?

A list of venue acronyms is here.

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