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Expo 2025 proposal a catalyst for growth: supporters

 

by DON PROCTER 

Boosters of Toronto hosting Expo 2025 say the six-month event would be the catalyst to future development of the city's Port Lands — an 880-acre underused parcel of land 10 minutes southeast of the city's financial district.
A local delegation of private, government and labour union leaders invited the secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) — the intergovernmental organization responsible for overseeing and regulating world expos — to see firsthand what Toronto has to offer as a possible venue for Expo 2025.
A local delegation of private, government and labour union leaders invited the secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) — the intergovernmental organization responsible for overseeing and regulating world expos — to see firsthand what Toronto has to offer as a possible venue for Expo 2025. - Photo:Sarah Gladki/Toronto Arts Council

"It would actually allow us to plan out our master community (on the Port Lands) and not have to pay for it all by ourselves," says Kristyn Wong-Tam, a City of Toronto councillor and a member of the Expo 2025 Canada committee hoping to bring the expo to Toronto.

She says Expo 2025 would only require about 400 acres. The underdeveloped Port Lands would fit the bill but the site would first have to be "flood-proofed by redirecting (naturalizing) the mouth of the Don River."

That is an expensive venture, particularly for the City of Toronto to do by itself. However, through the Expo 2025 project, the federal and provincial governments would be under a financial commitment to help get the work done.

"Once the expo leaves the Port Lands, then the City of Toronto would have an entire new community to build out, perhaps with some residential, mixed-use office space, while still keeping industrial uses in the area because it is still an active port," says Wong-Tam.

Without the expo, Wong-Tam believes the Port Lands development could take "double or triple" the amount of time to build out largely because it would require collaboration from various government levels. "We have a history of governments not working together."

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