Toronto found out on Thursday night (June 16th) that they would be one of the 16 host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. As you have probably heard by now, the 2026 World Cup is being jointly hosted by the North American countries of the United States of America, Mexico, and Canada. FIFA ended the discussions on Thursday night about which cities in those countries would be the actual host cities and what stadiums the matches would be played in.
Toronto is one of two Canadian cities to earn hosting rights, joining Vancouver. FIFA also chose eleven US cities to host along with three Mexico cities.
It is not a surprise at all that Toronto received a hosting bid. Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, is home to one of the most successful MLS franchises, and has a strong soccer base. Toronto is one of the cities in North America that made you definitely believed was going to be one of the 16 hosts.
FIFA had previously narrowed down the potential host cities to 22, before naming the 16 host cities on Thursday night. Toronto was one of three Canadian finalist (joining fellow host Vancouver and Edmonton who was not chosen). Early on it was expected that all three Canadian finalist would host (with there being a 10+3+3 model with the US getting ten host cities), but it was ultimately decided that the US would receive 11 host cities and Canada would receive two.
Even with the speculation ramping up heading into Thursday that one of the Canadian cities would get left out, Toronto was always a near-lock and makes a ton of sense as a host. It was also expected that Edmonton would be the Canadian city of the three finalist to be the most likely to get left out due to the city not having an MLS franchise.
The World Cup matches in Toronto will be held at BMO Field, home of Toronto FC. BMO Field has hosted many important soccer matches throughout it’s history. It has hosted three MLS Cups (2010, 2016, and 2017 (2016 and 2017 were with Toronto playing in the match)), 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup matches, and 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup matches. It will now get the honors of hosting World Cup matches.
The exact number of matches that Toronto will host, who will play in them, and if any knockout round matches will be played there is still unknown. However, I expect roughly five matches to be played in Toronto. I also expect for the Canadian national team (if they qualify) to play at least one World Cup match in Toronto.
Hosting World Cup matches is a big deal for Toronto and BMO Field, and it shows just how much soccer has grown in Toronto. It shows how well Toronto FC has done in building up soccer in the community and how they have set up a strong foundation of soccer in Toronto. World Cup matches will provide Toronto with the opportunity to showcase itself to the world.