First official Pan Am Games store opens in Toronto

People walk past the official Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games retail store in Toronto on Friday, April 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - While athletes headed to this summer’s Pan Am Games hope to take home a medal, shoppers at Toronto’s Eaton Centre are setting their sights on more attainable mementoes: shirts, mugs and other Games souvenirs.

The first official Pan Am merchandise store opened at the shopping mall Friday, drawing a small crowd of fans and curious passersby.

The Games’ mascot, the multi-coloured porcupine Pachi, was on hand to greet shoppers who ventured inside the 270-square-metre shop.

Pachi plush toys, as well as Pan Am shirts, baseball caps and water bottles are among the items sold.

Thousands of athletes and visitors are expected to arrive in Ontario, particularly the Toronto region, for the international competition.

The Pan Am Games run from July 10 to 26, with the Parapan Am Games to follow from Aug. 7-15.

Simone Dennis said she bought Pan Am tote bags for her nieces and nephews on an impulse after walking by the store.

The children are excited about the Games, she said, “so we’ve got to get their bags.”

She predicted more purchases before the end of the Games. “Most likely,” she said with a laugh. “But not today.”

© The Canadian Press, 2015

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