Many equestrians have already gotten a first crack at advance ticket sales through their governing bodies, and December 8, 2014, marks the day the tickets go on sale to the public. If you haven’t already bought your tickets, you can hit up Ticketmaster.com and search through the equestrian event schedule.
Brief Overview of the Location
In case you were curious, all dressage and show jumping will be held at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Caledon, Ontario. It’s a bit under four hours drive from the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan or just over two hours from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
The park has been an equestrian show ground since 1973. They have held hunter/jumper shows, dressage, reining and more with an emphasis on the ‘A’ circuit shows. Learn more about the history and current status of the park. Plan to bring your walking shoes; there is no parking directly on site. Visitors will be parking a short distance away with frequent shuttles to accommodate everyone.
The cross-country portion of the eventing will be held at Will O’ Wind Farm which is approximately 35 minutes from the equestrian park. Eventing dressage and eventing stadium will be held at the equestrian park.
Things to Consider
In case you don’t follow equestrian news, there are some lessons to be had from the World Equestrian Games held this past summer in Normandy, France. Essentially, social media exploded with cringe-worthy reports and photos of extremely limited bathrooms, three-hour lineups for food, ankle-deep mud and standstill traffic (causing many visitors to miss the events they had driven to see!)
Palgrave is the nearest, immediate town to the park (you can practically see the entrance to the park from this main street), but as you can see the retail situation is somewhat limited. Add in tens of thousands of visitors and it could get pretty crowded.
It would be wise to maybe grab some basic supplies like you would for any horse show (a couple bottles of water, a snack and maybe emergency toilet paper?) in case the venue is packed. Luckily, there is a considerably larger town called Orangeville that is about 25 minutes west. They’ve got you covered from a Wal-Mart, BestBuy, restaurants, gas, grocery stores, etc. (Take note, American buddies, you have to hit the designated LCBO liquor store or beer store for your fix. Those are the only places you can buy bottles of liquor. Be warned!) The closest hotels to the venue will also likely be in Orangeville, such as a Best Western and Howard Johnson. There are also some B&B’s and smaller motels nearby.
Keep in mind, if you plan to stay in Toronto for some sightseeing, that Toronto has the dubious honour of some of the most congested rush hour traffic comparable to L.A. or New York. If you’re going to stay in Toronto and commute up to the park for your equestrian events, plan for at 1.5-2 hours of driving each way during rush hour to be sure you don’t miss your event. It’s a one hour drive in average driving conditions.
Also, plan to keep an eye on the weather a few weeks in advance of the games. While Canada has the reputation for the cold, summer in Southern Ontario can get insanely hot and humid. During the games it will be mid-July, so plan to dress accordingly to local weather reports.
The shopping situation at the Pan Ams should be pretty awesome, but just in case I will put up a good listing of tack stores you should probably check out while you’re here. (TBD.)
I will do my best to post updates about the venue/event as they become available. It should be a fabulous time with lots of good food, parties and riding. See you all there!