Maple Leaf Gardens will open its doors to the Ontario Liberals after the party announced Sunday it will host its leadership convention at the hockey shrine.

The historic building is the same site where Dalton McGuinty was elected leader of the party in 1996.

Two weeks ago, McGuinty made the surprise decision to step down as Ontario premier and to prorogue the legislature. McGuinty agreed to serve as premier until a new leader was elected.

At the time, McGuinty asked the party’s president to convene a leadership convention “at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The party announced last week it will hold the convention during the weekend of Jan.25, 2013. Delegates will be elected at leadership election meetings being held on Jan. 12 and 13, 2013.

A statement released by the Ontario Liberal Party outlines that leadership candidates have a spending limit of $500,000 and are to not accumulate a debt of more than $100,000.

Several names have been tossed around as to who will replace McGuinty, who has been premier for the last nine years. Energy Minister Chris Bentley and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan have already announced they will not run.

The deadline to enter the race is Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. The entry fee is $50,000. Candidates are required to submit no less than 250 signatures of members in good standing.

Maple Leaf Gardens will look drastically different compared to the 1996 convention after a buyout by Ryerson University and Loblaws in 2009. The facility underwent a complete renovation, to become part grocery store and part athletic facility. Ryerson unveiled its Mattamy Athletic Centre in the building this September.