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Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney winks at the start of a news conference upon the release of the Monetary Policy Report in Ottawa.CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

The numbered invitations were supposed to be to one of the hottest gatherings in Toronto – Thursday evening's fête for departing Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.

Instead, it may now be the most awkward gathering on anyone's social calendar.

Mr. Carney was supposed to pop into a Toronto room at six o'clock to mingle with some of the most distinguished financial names in the country. (Security is so tight even bank chief executives have been warned: you won't be let in without the numbered original.) The occasion was an opportunity to see Mr. Carney off as he heads abroad this summer to take over as head of the Bank of England.

Everyone was also expecting to see Tiff Macklem, the senior deputy governor at the central bank and the odds-on favourite to take Mr. Carney's place.

However, at 4 o'clock, Mr. Carney was in Ottawa, with Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty as he unveiled the surprise choice of Mr. Carney's successor, Stephen Poloz. Mr. Macklem wasn't there, so Mr. Flaherty spoke for him, saying that Mr. Macklem "welcomed" the appointment of Mr. Poloz and looked forward to working with him.

So Mr. Carney is sure to be late, it's not clear if Mr. Poloz is coming, and nobody's sure if Mr. Macklem will be there. Or what to say if he is.