Pope John Paul's selection of Toronto as the site of the next World Youth Day in 2002 is expected to draw about 400,000 visitors to Canada's largest city and boost its bid for the 2008 Olympics, city officials said on Monday.
    Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and Ontario Premier Mike Harris, who met with the Pope in the Vatican after his announcement on Sunday, are already making plans for the conference, and have donated $A1.15 million and facilities toward the event.
    Toronto hopes the youth festival, as well as the city's annual Caribbean street party, its Gay Pride Parade and New Year's Eve street parties, will prove to Olympic officials the city is able to handle the crowds, traffic and accommodation issues that accompany such huge events.
    Fr Bill Kokesch, communications director for Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Pope's planned visit would be an important moment for Canada's Catholic community.
    "We're very pleased to have the Pope come to Toronto. The event has made a significant impact for the church," said Kokesch.
    Previous Youth Days have been held in Argentina, Spain, Poland, the United States, the Philippines and France.
23 Aug 00

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