McGuinty made his announcement during a surprise caucus meeting shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

“After 16 years as leader of the Ontario Liberal party, and after nine years as premier, it’s time for renewal,” McGuinty said to a room packed with reporters and members of the Liberal caucus. “It’s time for the next Liberal premier. It’s time for the next set of Liberal ideas to guide our province forward.”

Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones, (who you might remember played a benefit concert for Toronto during the SARS epidemic) have announced that they wll add a benefit concert for the Premier during their fiftieth annivaersary concerts in London and New York.

The shows will mark the first time in five years that the Stones have performed live, with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood all coming together once more.

The band said the benefit would be the “crowning glory” of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of their first gig.

They promise an all-new, custom-built set design, featuring the tongue and floppy lip logo, that will “reach out into the crowd.”

A wider tour is not planned, though the Dec. 15 performance will be available on pay per view to help with McQuinty’s retirement..