Game on! In June, two Canadian cities, Vancouver and Toronto, were selected as host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This means that some of the most well-known and talented soccer teams are headed right for this city. If you’re a huge soccer fan and want to stay updated throughout the coming years on event planning and ticket sales, keep reading! As one of the biggest news developments for British Columbia and Ontario in 2022, we’ll make sure it’ll be worth your while!
The FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, more commonly known as the World Cup, is an international football competition that occurs every four years. It was founded in 1930, almost 92 years ago, and is held by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The largest and most prestigious sporting event other than the Olympics, the World Cup currently has 32 teams, with France being the current champions and Brazil being the most successful team of all time. These 32 teams are from different countries and compete against each other for the final prize.
Well, we have more than 32 countries. Surely there must be more countries who are willing to play. Exactly! Over 200 teams compete for these 32 spots every four years, but only 32 teams make it to the final rounds of the World Cup! This is determined by how many games each team wins or loses. As the official FIFA website describes it, the competition begins with the “round of 16”, in which the winner of each grouping plays against the runner-up of another group. Eventually, it is followed by the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, the third-place match for the losing semi-finalists, and the final game.
Some of the previous FIFA World Cup winners include:
- 2018: France.
- 2014: Germany.
- 2010: Spain.
- 2006: Italy.
- 2002: Brazil.
Why is the FIFA World Cup so popular?
You might be familiar with the soccer fans who wear their favourite team’s jerseys and paint their faces in the colours of their teams. Maybe you’ve seen it on TV, on the news, or even on social media. In short, the World Cup is so popular because soccer (football) itself is the most popular sport in the world. Some say that soccer is much more than just a sport – it is a form of cultural expression and a way for millions of people to connect around the world through a single activity. Others say that soccer is a universal language and that even though we may not be able to speak with people from other countries, we can form bonds with them by playing soccer together.
Vancouver as a Host City
After a long and competitive bid, Vancouver has been selected as an official host city for the FIFA World Cup in 2026. The games will most likely take place at BC Place, which is currently home to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the BC Lions, and the Canada men’s national soccer team. According to the official BC News website, this is the first time that the World Cup matches will be played in not just Vancouver (or Toronto) but Canada! Hopefully, this means that the 2026 games will lead to a massive economic and hospitality boost in Vancouver’s tourism sector.
However, not many people may know that Vancouver placed a bid in 2018 as well. The bid was dropped when our Premier, John Horgan, withdrew after concerns about unknown risks and costs for BC taxpayers. But now that Vancouver is hosting some of the matches, the city will most likely receive significant economic, cultural, and community benefits. In other words, we will experience a major boom in our tourism, entertainment and hospitality sectors, as well as a wonderful recovery from the recent economic impacts of COVID-19.
Toronto as a Host City
If you don’t live in British Columbia, don’t worry. The FIFA World Cup matches will also take place in Toronto! Toronto plans to host most of its matches at BMO Field and will also organize plenty of soccer-related events across the city for much of the duration of the games. Although the BMO Field stadium only has around 28,000 seats (compared to BC Place’s 54,000 seats), city planners are aiming to add temporary seats, so definitely try and catch the game if you can.
Canada & Other Host Cities
A total of ten games will be played in Canada, although the breakdown between the two cities is currently unknown. Edmonton was also a finalist alongside Vancouver and Toronto, but unfortunately, they were not chosen for the 2026 games. The 15 other host cities include Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guadalajara, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Monterrey, Mexico City, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, New York and New Jersey. So, if you’re ever travelling down South in 2026, the FIFA World Cup just might be held in one of the cities you visit.
Looking Forward to 2022 and 2026
CTV News states that this will be the first time three countries (Canada, U.S. and Mexico) have joined forces to host the World Cup in 2026. This will also be the first World Cup to include 48 teams after the tournament’s expansion. But before the 2026 games, be sure to tune in to the 2022 World Cup that will be hosted in Qatar this winter.
Sources: BC Gov News: Vancouver named FIFA World Cup 2026 official host city, Global News: Vancouver chosen in North American bid, FIFA: 2026 Host Cities, City of Toronto named FIFA World Cup 2026 Host City, CTV Sports News: Vancouver & Toronto,