Barack Obama is coming to Toronto.
As suspected, it will be Toronto, not Muskoka, that will host the G20 summit of major developed and developing nations next June.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak revealed the change of location after meeting in Seoul Monday afternoon, meaning the city will play host to Mr. Obama and 19 other world leaders next year. No venue was announced, but the dates are June 26-27.
The G8-consisting of the seven major industrialized countries plus Russia-has been the pre-eminent forum for managing global economic policy since the 1990s. But as recession swept across the hemispheres in 2008, the nascent G20 emerged as the more effective forum for co-ordinating a global response to the economic crisis.
Plans have long been in the works for leaders of the G8 to meet outside the resort town of Huntsville, in the cottage-country District of Muskoka, about 250 km north of Toronto, next June.
When Canada was chosen last September to host a G20 leaders meeting in June 2009, the Conservative government originally planned to dovetail the two meetings in Muskoka. But it became increasingly clear that the 10,000 participants and media expected for the G20 would overwhelm the capacity of the upscale tourist destination, while also creating virtually insurmountable security concerns.
Mr. Harper's announcement Monday confirmed that Canada's largest city, rather than one of its most attractive resort communities, will take on the event, with the Toronto Convention Centre as one possible choice to host the meeting.
The G20 will convene again in Seoul in November of next year.