Toronto’s World Expo 2025 bid dead

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Toronto’s World Expo 2025 bid dead

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Toronto’s World Expo 2025 bid dead after Prime Minister Stephen Harper government says no

Toronto’s hopes of hosting a world’s fair in 2025 appear dead after the federal Conservative government cancelled its $25,000 per year membership in the body that governs such expos.

In an Oct. 16 letter to Mayor Rob Ford, federal Heritage Minister James Moore said the Prime Minister Stephen Harper government is committed to “reviewing all spending across government with the aim of reducing the deficit and returning to balanced budgets.

“As part of this commitment, the International Expositions Program was cancelled at the end of March 2012. Therefore Canada will be ending its membership in the Bureau International des Expositions and will not be supporting future Canadian Expo bids at this time.”

Ford had wrote July 10 to Moore, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty — a close personal friend — asking that “Canada retain its full membership in the BIE.”

The mayor noted that he tasked Councillor Peter Milczyn, a member of his executive, with attending BIE meetings in a “purely unofficial and information-gathering capacity.

“Retaining our membership in the BIE does not commit Canada to any major expense or endeavour, and the actual membership fee itself is quite modest,” the letter states.

He also noted that Toronto council voted to approve a plan to help the city determine whether Toronto should make a bid to host the 2025 World’s Fair. City staff are writing a report due to return to the economic development committee.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who spearheaded the Expo push, called the federal government’s decision “short-sighted.”

Landing Expo would have left an infrastructure legacy in terms of cleaning up waterfront land and, following the 2015 Pan Am Games, would have set the stage for a Toronto Olympic bid, said Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale).

She said Toronto’s look at Expo had the support of members of all three parties provincially and federally, as well as Waterfront Toronto, the Port Lands Corp., the Toronto Board of Trade and other several groups.

Mayor Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford had spoken with Moore and Flaherty about the bid, she said. The mayor has gone fishing with the Prime Minister at his private retreat on Harrington Lake.

“By quickly saying no to any Expo bid you are basically saying to Waterfront Toronto and the Port Lands Corp. ‘it’s great you have these wonderful plans but once again we won’t come forward with the funding’,” Wong-Tam said.

“Toronto never wanted the G20 Summit and we got that, and the things we want we don’t get. I would say this is a test of Mayor Ford’s relationship with his Conservative federal counterparts.

He’s always boasted about the close working relationship. I’d be asking the mayor, ‘Is he ready to stand up for Toronto at this point?’”

The deadline to make a bid for Expo 2025 would be in 2016.

Pour tout savoir sur les expositions universelles et internationales.

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