A design is proposed for a 20 m Canadian Very Large Optical Telescope (VLOT). This design meets the science, schedule, and availability requirements of the Canadian astronomical community. The telescope could be operational by early in the next decade to complement the science discoveries of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) and Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). This design is suitable for location on the Mauna Kea summit ridge, and could replace the current 3.6 m CFHT telescope. The telescope structure provides room for two vertically oriented Nasmyth instruments, implements a very stiff monocoque mirror cell, and offers a short and direct load path to the telescope mount. A Calotte style dome structure offers many advantages over current designs including lower and more even power requirements, and a circular aperture that will better protect the telescope structure from wind buffeting. The science requirements are presented, and the telescope optical design, primary mirror pupil segmentation options, including hexagonal segments and a radial segment design with a central 8 m mirror, are considered. Point spread function plots and encircled energy calculations show that there is no significant diffraction performance difference between the options except that hexagonal segments in the 1 m point-to-point range appear to deliver poorer PSF's as compared to 2 m and larger segments. Plans for implementation of a Matlab based integrated telescope model are discussed. A summary of adaptive optics system issues for large telescopes is presented along with plans for future research in AO.