Former U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Toronto on Friday for an event that is expected to attract thousands of fans and political observers.
Obama’s visit comes just hours after Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and the woman who tried to succeed him, landed in Toronto as part of her book tour.
Clinton shared her post-election feelings and assessments of the 2016 campaign on Thursday night with more than 5,000 people who bought tickets to hear her speak.
Earlier in the day Thursday, Obama was golfing with her husband, Bill Clinton, and another former president, George W. Bush, at a golf tournament in New Jersey. Bill Clinton is also making a visit to Toronto for a speech next week.
The Obama event is expected to attract an estimated 3,000 and the crowd will include Canadian politicians from all levels of government. Some members of Parliament are coming from Ottawa. MPPs from Queen’s Park will be there, including Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Toronto Mayor John Tory is also expected to attend.
The event is being hosted by an Ottawa-based think tank called Canada2020. Tim Barber, its co-founder, told CBC the organization is excited to host the president and that this will be “one of the most important political events that’s happened in the city for a long time.”
Obama is expected to deliver remarks for about 30 mintues and then take questions posed by Bruce Heyman, who was a U.S. ambassador to Canada for Obama’s administration. Heyman stepped down after President DonaldTrump’s inauguration and is now an advisor to Canada2020.
‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’
“For many, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and hear President Obama live. Canada 2020 is thrilled to help spread his message of civic engagement, community leadership and tolerance,” Heyman said on the group’s website.
Since leaving office in January, Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been unwinding on yachts with celebrity friends, vacationing and giving speeches around the world. They’ve also started a new foundation.
The couple is still living in Washington while their younger daughter Sasha finishes high school.
Obama is also recovering from dropping his older daughter Malia off at Harvard to begin college a few weeks ago. He told an audience on Monday in Delaware that it was “a little bit like open-heart surgery.”
“I was proud that I did not cry in front of her,” the former president said.
This is Obama’s second visit to Canada since leaving the White House. He was in Montreal in June for a speech where he emphasized the importance of civic engagement, a theme he is likely to repeat on Friday.
After the Montreal speech Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had dinner together.