Press release Rotary convention brings thousands to Toronto

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International Rotary convention brings 24,000 people to Toronto  

Most multi-cultural convention to be held in the city

TORONTO – The 109th annual international Rotary convention will take place in Toronto on June 23–27, and is expected to bring 24,000 Rotary club members from over 175 countries to the city – injecting an estimated $48.5 million CAD into the local economy. 

Accredited journalists are invited to cover the Rotary convention and events (June 23-27).  Media Passes are required to gain access to the exhibit hall and general session speeches. To apply for a Media Pass, please fill out the registration form. You may also request a Media Pass onsite upon presenting valid media accreditation at the Press Center at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (Room 401) starting on June 23.   

Often described as a “mini-United Nations,” Rotary’s fifth convention in Toronto will transform the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Air Canada Centre into a cultural mosaic as the organization’s global network of volunteers gather to exchange ideas on how to improve lives and bring positive, lasting change to communities around the world. 

Registrants will engage in workshops and hear from a lineup of world-class speakers, including Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general, World Health Organization and Caryl Stern, president and CEO of UNICEF. 

Organized by Rotary International in conjunction with the Toronto Host Organizing Committee of local Rotary members, registrants of the convention will also get to experience Toronto’s hospitality with visits to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and the historic Distillery District.  Highlights will include:

Monday, June 18

  • Rotary Photo Exhibit (Nathan Phillips Square; June 18-27): Free and open to the public, this exhibit will showcase 26 images of Rotary members improving communities in Canada and around the world.   

Friday, June 22

  • 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Peacebuilding Summit (Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Level 100, 105-107): The peace conference is an event open to the public that will explore how to create peace and inspire others to take action. 
  • 10 a.m. Dr. Tererai Trent, Oprah Book Club author and founder, Tererai Trent International Foundation   
  • 2 p.m. Positive Peace Breakout Session – local students will learn what positive peace means and how to incorporate it into their lives.  
  • 3:30 p.m. The Pink Shirt Movement Breakout Session – One in five kids are affected by bullying according to Pink Shirt Day. This breakout session will raise awareness about the effects of bullying and teach students how to identify, peacefully confront and end bullying. 

Saturday, June 23 

  • 8–9 a.m. Positive Peace Mapping (Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Olympic Park): 300-500 participants will display what positive peace looks like through an interactive outdoor activity at Olympic Park.
  • 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Peacebuilding Summit (Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Level 100, 105-107): 
  • 9 a.m. David Morley, President & CEO, UNICEF Canada
  • 10 a.m. House of Friendship Grand Opening (Metro Toronto Convention Centre Level 800, Halls D&E, South Building): Hundreds of humanitarian projects will be on display from June 23-27. Photo-Op: Crowds of Rotary members will gather in their traditional cultural attire – from Indian Saris to West African Kente. 

Featured booth: Virtual Reality Booth (House of Friendship): Three immersive virtual reality experiences put you at the centre of polio immunization drives, and with a child growing up in a conflict zone. 

“I Dream of an Empty Ward” tells the inspiring story of Alokita, one of the last children in India to be paralyzed by polio. We journey with her as she takes her first steps in 11 years. Actress and Rotary polio ambassador Archie Panjabi introduces the film.

“One Small Act” takes us on the journey of a child whose world has been torn apart by conflict. We see the powerful impact that small acts of kindness can have on the life of one little girl.

See before it’s available: “Two Drops of Patience” follows Rotary members and health workers on a special journey to see what it takes to immunize some of the hardest to reach children in Uganda. 

Sunday, June 24

10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Opening General Session (Air Canada Centre): 

  • 10:40 a.m. The ceremony features a flag presentation of the 200 countries and regions where Rotary clubs serve their communities. 
  • 11:20 a.m. Red Sky Group will perform a First Nations Cultural Ceremony 
  • 11:40 a.m. Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell will welcome Rotary members to Toronto
  • 12:00 p.m. Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley will deliver the keynote address
  • 3:30-6 p.m. Second Seating of the General Session with a special guest  

Monday, June 25

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. General Session (Air Canada Centre):  

Tuesday, June 26

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. General Session (Air Canada Centre):

  • 10:13 a.m.  Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009)

Wednesday, June 27

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. General Session (Air Canada Centre): 

  • 11:00 a.m. Helen Clark, Former prime minister of New Zealand, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
  • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Closing Plenary Session (Air Canada Centre)


“Toronto is a perfect fit for our convention. Rotary, much like the Queen City, is made up of people from different cultural backgrounds and walks of life,” said Ian H.S. Riseley, president of Rotary International. “We are honored to be hosted in a city that values and celebrates diversity.”

“Toronto is honoured to host 24,000 Rotarians this summer,” said Johanne Bélanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “The Rotary International Convention will bring an estimated $48.5 million in economic impact to the region, but more than that, Rotary will be bringing the world to Toronto with more than 175 countries taking part. This reflects Toronto sense of welcome, diversity and inclusion.” 

“We are honoured to host the Rotary International Convention”, said Barry Smith, President and CEO of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “Our Centre is committed to making a positive impact in the community and we look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world who take action to create lasting change in communities across the globe.”


For video footage and still images of past Rotary International conventions and humanitarian efforts go to

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: 

Amanda Federchuk: +1 (416) 355-7410, 

Chanele Williams: +1 (847) 866-3466, 

About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Toronto’s first Rotary convention took place 94 years ago, with subsequent conventions in 1942, 1964 and 1983.