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Toronto council says no to bidding on Expo 2025

Council voted 29-10 on Wednesday not to support the development of a bid to host Expo 2025.
Nov. 9, 2016
By Betsy Powell

Toronto city council has voted “not now” to launch a bid to host a world’s fair in 2025.

Council voted 29-10 on Wednesday not to support the development of a bid to host Expo 2025, but 33-5 to remain open to future Expo bids, including Expo 2030.

The city’s executive committee had already voted not to support a bid, which was what staff had recommended.

“Obviously, we knew the outcome walking into city council,” Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who spearheaded the Expo drive at city hall. She said she believed Toronto stood a good chance to host the event, since it has been almost 40 years since North America has hosted an Expo.

Wong-Tam said she hoped for council’s backing believing that hosting Expo would accelerate the revitalization efforts already underway on the city’s Port Lands, the proposed site for the event.

Mayor John Tory told council he didn’t think Expo was “bad for the city,” but the time was not right now.

“Sometimes people will say ‘well is there ever going to be a good time.’ I don’t know the answer to that question because I can’t see the future,” he told council.

“But I did know, based on the discussions I had with members of the other governments, there certainly wasn’t any indication that they were going to be forthcoming with their share of the money, which was not inconsiderable based on our own staff reports.”

A city staff report estimated it would cost $1.9 billion to host the world’s fair.

Tory said officials with senior levels of government indicated that if any money was forthcoming for Expo, it would come from funds earmarked for infrastructure.

That would mean less money for transit or housing, which was not something he could support, he said.