Canada’s Next Generation of Leaders are Ready for Expo 2025

By Janet Grant, Director, Events @ MaRS Discovery District

I was in the Heritage Atrium at MaRS listening to Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam having an open public dialogue with Secretary-General Vincente Loscertales of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). They were speaking to a crowd of journalists, industry leaders, and engaged citizens about transformative potential for Canada in hosting Expo in 2025. It was then that it hit me: this is EXACTLY what Canada is ready for – Sign me up!

This insight was accompanied by a flood of childhood memories visiting the Expo ’67 site in Montreal.  My mind conjured up the dazzling combination of art and technology in the Czech Pavilion, the glittering, reflective orb of the US Pavilion, the rides at La Ronde, and Montreal’s brand new Metro transportation system that whooshed us through the tunnel under the St. Lawrence River.

My parents were simply spellbound by the technologies on display and so proud to be part of this rich international pageant. They couldn’t show us enough: we were taken everywhere on the Expo site – not always willingly – but I knew even then that I was experiencing transformative architecture, media, and exhibits from around the world.  I remember being left with babysitters while my parents returned over and over again to Expo for evening excursions and cultural attractions. When I look at public photos from Expo ’67, I wonder if the tall couple might be my parents – my mother’s chocolate coloured Jackie Kennedy flip-up hairdo, with three little heads in tow – gawking up at the NASA US space capsule on display, complete with its recent atmospheric re-entry burn marks.

mediacentre-mars-buildingAs Director, Events at MaRS Discovery District, I have been exposed to innovation across industries. At MaRS, we support entrepreneurs bringing potentially breakthrough ideas to market. I know the kind of immense talent we have in Toronto and across the country – smart, ambitious, and compassionate people who are changing the world for the better.

I believe that Expo 2025 in Canada will be about innovation and diversity, a gallery for important conversations about the world we want to live in.  It will bring together countries showcasing incredible technologies, each uniquely connected to its nation’s cultural origin.  Canada will have an opportunity to  showcase our strong social values and technological innovations: from insulin to Bixi bikes.

Our Next Generation of Leaders are Ready for Expo 2025 Canada

Recently, I attended a roundtable workshop with millennials to gauge and observe their appetite for Canada’s potential bid for Expo2025. I was struck by their spirited pride in Canada’s multiculturalism, open borders, and global egalitarianism. It is an injustice to assume these future leaders are concerned only with Instagram and Snapchat. Millennials care about causes – they want to be engaged and help drive change. They want to be part of a neighbourhood that creates what is missing, participate in clean technology solutions, and build a healthier, more sustainable planet. The road leading to Expo 2025 Canada will give our next generation of leaders real opportunities to share, build and lead, and own a legacy for the future.

For people of all ages, I am inspired about the prospect of seeing Expo come back to Canada in 2025 – please join me and the movement: sign up here. We need your support more than ever as the next 30 to 100 days are crucial to bringing Toronto and Canada together on this important decision to bid for Expo Canada 2025.

Janet Grant
Director, Events @ MaRS Discovery District