TORONTO – Mayor John Tory and city councilors have met with representatives from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to discuss the feasibility of hosting the World Expo in 2025.
The event is being considered after Toronto hosted the Pan Am Games in the summer of 2015 and rejected bidding for the Olympics soon after.
Canada has hosted the World Expo twice before. The event was held in Montreal in 1967 and Vancouver in 1986.
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The world’s fair takes place every five years and lasts six months. Its purpose is to bring different countries together to meet, stage cultural events and discuss issues such as the global economy and technological innovations.
“They act as catalysts for economic transformations, improve urban infrastructure, accelerate the implementation of urban policies and strengthen or build the international image of the host city,” BIE secretary general Dr. Vicente Loscertales said.
Participating countries design and build pavilions in the host city with the hope of attracting tourists from around the world.
“What’s exciting about an Expo is it’s six months,” Tourism Toronto’s executive vice-president Andrew Weir said. “It’s not a week or two weeks, so the benefits are spread over six months over from a tourism standpoint.”
It’s estimated that if Toronto were to welcome the world for the event, $8-billion could be generated at a cost of up to $3-billion.
“We have an opportunity to use the Expo to catalyze the changes we want on the waterfront,” city councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam said. “Especially in the port lands, which is literally hundreds of acres of prime waterfront property that is not serving as well.”
The bid would require political and financial support from all three levels of government. A report is expected to be presented to city council in the spring.
Toronto began the process of putting together a bid for Expo 2015 under Mayor David Miller but neither the provincial or federal government said they would be willing to take on the responsibility of a deficit.
Milan, Italy hosted the event last year using theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and the city of Dubai is now preparing for Expo 2020.