How Toronto and Canada and the World can win by staging the 2025 World Exposition
(This column and a 4-minute video rant was first published in the Toronto Sun on Saturday, February 6, 2015)
Critics will argue that staging a World Exposition is the last thing a city needs. It's expensive, short-lived, lacks a legacy and favours global over local.
Canada's economy is running on empty, and the fuels that used to power it, pumping oil, hewing wood and a cheap currency have all lost their octane. Mounting debt, unemployment, and consumer uncertainty are pouring cement on our psychology and future.
Isn't it time we reimagine and reinvent a new economy for Canada?
A World Exposition can be Canada's launching pad for creating a future where jobs are purposeful, where intellectual and financial capital is plentiful and where our Private, Public, and Academic Sectors share common goals and objectives.
Many of the great expos of the past achieved the very same results. In 1851, London staged the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. Its reach extended far beyond its grounds or tenure; it captured the world's imagination, influenced society, academia, art, design, international trade and relations, investment and tourism. In 1893, Chicago ushered in America's optimism and industrial prowess while the 1964 New York World Fair showed the young boomer how technology would dramatically change their lives.
Expo 67 in Montreal and their theme "Man and His World" challenged humans to think as part of an ecosystem versus controlling it. In 2010, Shanghai staged "Better City and Better Life" attracting 75 million visitors and the participation of over 246 countries and international organizations.
Some of the world's most beautiful structures and leading tourist destinations began as part of a World Expo. The Crystal Palace in London, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Palace of Fine Arts in Chicago, Magic Fountain in Barcelona, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Millennium Dome in London, and Canada Place in Vancouver.
We Can Realize the Same Legacy
Here is my idea and theme for a World Expo in Toronto and how it can be the catalyst for a new economy for Canada.
In 2025, Earth will be home to 9 billion people. We will be over-populated, under-employed and under-resourced while taxing the limits of our planet to sustain us.
We will have big problems to solve and our only way forward will be through creation, collaboration, consensus and conservation versus force or political rhetoric. Our theme for our Expo should, therefore, be Planet Earth: Alive and Well.
Our goal is to showcase all we are doing and can and must be done to keep our Planet and all those who inhabit it, alive and well. We will invite each Country, and their Not for Profit, For-Profit and Academic Sectors, their Anarchists, Influencers, and Disruptors to join our circle of change.
To give focus and energy, we will create streams based on our biggest problems. How can we repel the ocean's rising waters, eradicate poverty and disease, provide human rights, fight climate change, chronic unemployment and terrorism, and age with dignity?
To give our event presence, and lasting beauty for Toronto, we will either stage this on our Port Lands or bury the Gardner, revitalize the CNE and repurpose Ontario Place. Both offer extraordinary lake settings and in turn put our cities best foot forward for the 80 million tourists who will visit. A World Expo of this magnitude will put Toronto, Canada at the epicentre of how humanity must urgently tip the planet towards sustainability and survival. Our investment will extend far beyond the tenure of our exhibition, or curing the eyesores of the Gardiner and Ontario Place. Something of such global importance will attract the best minds, the best organizations, and the investment capital and jobs to not only envision but also create a desired future.
To ensure our Planet, our Country, and our Economy remains 'Alive and Well' for decades to come.
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