The FIFA World Cup 26 Toronto will take place at BMO Field. The stadium is home to many special CanMNT events. This includes Alphonso Davies’ special goal scored against Panama and when Toronto qualified for just their second-ever FIFA World Cup with a 4-0 win over Jamaica. Toronto will also be one of only two Canadian cities to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026, with the other being Vancouver.
A Huge Moment With the FIFA World Cup 26 Toronto
Let us introduce ourselves ⚽ #WeAreToronto
— FIFA World Cup 26 Toronto (@FWC26Toronto) May 18, 2023
Host City: Toronto, Ontario
Population: 7,000,000 (source: Vita Shutt of Southwest Journal)
Soccer Teams Located In The City: Toronto FC, York United FC, and a planned Project 8 Team with A.F.C. Toronto City coming in 2025
Venue: BMO Field (30,991) (Will likely to expand temporarily to 45,000-46,000 fans for the FIFA World Cup as said by Toronto FC president, Bill Manning on OneSoccer)
History and Significance of the Venue – Exhibition Stadium
What many people may not know about BMO Field was that there used to be a different stadium built in the same or similar location. This was Exhibition Stadium, which housed the Toronto Argonauts and also was built for the then expansion team, the Toronto Blue Jays back in 1977. In that stadium, the Toronto Blue Jays made their first-ever playoff appearance in 1985, with 99 wins. That 99-win season still holds as the record for the best regular season record in Blue Jays history. The Argonauts also won a Grey Cup in that stadium back in 1983.
History and Significance of the Venue for Toronto FC – BMO Field (2007-Present)
The venue is home to the first-ever FIFA standard soccer-specific stadium, BMO Field. It has housed MLS’ first-ever Canadian team, Toronto FC in 2007. It also hosted the first and so far, only MLS All-Star Game hosted outside of the U.S. back in 2008, where they faced West Ham United. In this game, Dwayne De Rosario scored the game-winning goal via a penalty in the 70-minute.
READ MORE: Toronto FC and their Top Five Moments at BMO Field
The venue hosted the 2016 and 2017 MLS Cup Finals, against the Seattle Sounders FC. It included the memorable 2017 MLS Cup Finals game, where TFC won 2-0 to capture their first and so far, their only MLS Cup trophy as they completed the treble (they also won the Supporters’ Shield and the 2017 Canadian Championship that year).
BMO Field was also the venue where TFC won the 2012 and the 2018 Canadian Championships.
History and Significance of the Venue for the CanMNT/CanWNT – BMO Field (2007-Present)
The CanMNT regularly play at BMO Field for their home games. For example, five of the eight games in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying were played at BMO Field. The first final round of World Cup qualification game in the 21st century took place in a 1-1 draw against Honduras back on September.
There were also some memorable wins at BMO Field, including the wins against El Salvador in September and the famous win against Panama in October. However, it was the 4-0 win over Jamaica on March that allowed Canada to make just their second-ever FIFA World Cup appearance in its national team’s history.
BMO Field has also been used as a home venue for Canada in the Concacaf Gold Cup. It has hosted two games, once in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in a scoreless draw against Costa Rica and a recent 2-2 draw against Guadeloupe in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Attendance at BMO tonight: 29,212
The largest crowd ever for Canada Soccer’s National Teams in the province of Ontario — men or women — eclipsing the mark set last March when the Men’s National Team qualified for the FIFA World Cup on 27 March 2022. #CANWNT pic.twitter.com/3DfdxPSRdW
— Paulo Senra (@paulosenra) September 27, 2023
As for the CanWNT, it most recently housed a game last year when hosting South Korea at BMO Field. It has also hosted other games against top nations in the past like the USWNT for example. It was also used for Olympic qualifying, where Canada won 2-1 at home against Jamaica. The women’s national team game on September 26 was the highest-ever attended Canadian national soccer team game ever in Ontario.
What the Games Mean for the City
READ MORE: What to know about Boston hosting 2026 World Cup matches
Toronto did not host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup because of the Pan American Games, so, for Toronto, this is the first FIFA World Cup for Ontario’s capital city. This is what then Toronto mayor, John Tory, said what the game would mean for the city (source: CBC News):
“It’s a trophy that unites the world. It brings the world together. Every nation, every continent, every country is involved in football in some capacity,” he said. “To know that it’s coming to our city, it’s far beyond the sport. It’s going to create history, it’s going to create culture.”
He is not the only one excited, Scarborough and Canadian soccer icon, Dwayne De Rosario, said this about the competition coming to Canada:
“I was full of emotions, excitement and joy and tears,” he told CBC Toronto. “I can remember watching guys like Maradona and Pele, and these players lift this trophy, and it’s like, ‘Wow, you’re right there.’ It’s a dream come true.”
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Might Be the Exclamation Point in Toronto
Of course, with the 2026 FIFA World Cup coming up, there are many things that are likely or at least have a realistic chance of happening before the year 2026.
Soccer wise, the biggest thing to point out is that A.F.C. Toronto City, a planned professional women’s soccer team, is likely coming a year prior to the World Cup and fans from other countries will get to see the local professional club scene domestically for both men and women. There is also another exciting development happening near BMO Field, with a 7,000 privately-funded video game stadium planned for 2025. With all these things happening, the games in Toronto will be one to remember.
Games Will Leave An Underlying Legacy in Toronto
READ MORE: Previewing the 2026 World Cup Host Cities: Miami, FL
Toronto, even with extremely rich professional sports teams like the Toronto Raptors, Blue Jays, and Maple Leafs, has never hosted the Summer or Winter Olympics. However, Canada’s financial centre will get to host the FIFA World Cup 26 in what might be the biggest event in the world. It is still unclear right now the allocation of games and how many of those Canada games will take place at BMO Field. Moreover, what is known either way is that the World Cup in Toronto in 2026 will be something that nobody has experienced before.
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports, of a BMO Field Headshot, on March 27, 2022.