Rotary International Convention 

Ken Dickson introduced Michael Cooksey.  Michael has contributed so much to Rotary.  He is now semi retired from BMO financial group after 42 years.  Since he joined in 1985 he has served as President of the Scarborough Rotary Club, held many different positions in the District 7070 and co-chairs the host organizing committee for the Rotary International Convention in Toronto June 24 - 27.  He is also past District Governor.

Michael said it's always a pleasure to be here and wished it was summer so he could look out the window at the beautiful view of the Bay of Quinte.  Truly amazing to see this city and how it has prospered.

We are going to have a party!  June 23 - 27 RI Convention.  We have invited Rotarians from around the world to enjoy Canada and Toronto.  We have six host districts participating in this international event and they have been amazing supporters of ours.  They have come to the table with $300,000 in loans. The provincial government and the City of Toronto have also been very supportive.  We are renting the Air Canada Center and Metro Center.  Did you know that it costs $125,000 to get Wifi in the convention center?  Thanks to the Government of Ontario who is covering that cost.

The Rotary International Convention is being held a little later than usual this year.  Normally it is the first week or two of June.  The reason we had to have it later is because of hockey.  Just in case the Maple Leafs are in the Stanley Cup and go to the finals, the other issue is that the Raptors could be using it.  District 7070 had to bid for the convention and it wasn't easy to beat out Amsterdam, Milan, Honolulu, South Africa mainly due to safety although Toronto being a diversified, cosmopolitan center with plenty off accommodation certainly played an important part.

Michael shared a video created by Tourism Toronto.  They have been working on this since 2010 to set this up.  The group consisted of Steve Wilkinson, Michael and Michelle Guy.  Steve helped to navigate through the politics.  The International convention committee included 5 Rotarians from around the world.  The Host Committee is responsible for Home hospitality and the House of Friendship.  They get a report every week on registration.  Average convention has about 17,000 participants.  As of last of week we are over 31,000 registered with 24,000 of those who have paid.  There are 8,000 Rotarians waiting for Visa's in order to attend the Convention and the Committtee is working with Canada to move those Visa's forward as quickly as possible.  One of the reasons for the delay is that some people are coming from high risk countries.  The organizing committee is projecting a minimum of 25,000 participants.  Would not want to have anymore than 30,000 due to trying to move people around.  

HOC website rotary2018.org  - what you will find on here is an array of information.  Three main HOC (Host Organizing Committee) events will be happening on the Saturday evening of Convention weekend.  Rock at the Distillery, a fun filled evening of food, entertainment and partying in Toronto's Historic Distillery District, Jazz at The Aquarium, a wondrous evening of music, food and entertainment at Toronto's renowned Ripley's Aquarium, a great way to meet people, and the big event will be held on Tuesday, June 26th, the ultimate Rotaryfest, a giant rib fest, an experience in the diversity and multiculturalism of the host city Toronto.  Many entertainers, some of which are Juno award winners.  There will be fireworks, and lots of messy ribs and consumption of beer.  You are able to bring friends and family to the HOC events.  

On website there is a volunteer piece.  Also tours, for friends to do a wine tour.  The ask is three things.  1. Hope everyone is registered, 2. Volunteer at airports, hotels, at the convention, volunteer outside the venue.  Does not have to be Rotarian.  Need 2000 volunteers, have 1200 todate.  3. Host hospitality.  The Rotary Club of Belleville is hosting a dinner for 40 at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.  4. Buy tickets for the HOC events - sign up and show our visitors a great time.

RI Video — Theme Inspiration around Every Corner. 

Will there be free transit passes - no but will have discounted passes.

Kevin Bazkur thanked Michael Cooksey.  Kevin spoke about the Rotary Club of Bellevilling hosting a dinner at the , the greatest view of Toronto.  There is space for 40 people.  Club has sponsored half of this.  Kevin was born in Toronto, and he is so happy to be part of this exciting event.  Any questions on the city let him know.  Will send out something through club runner to see how many are going.