Ontario Place redevelopment plan unveiled for world-class destination
The Ontario government has announced details of its plan to revitalize Ontario Place into a world-class destination. Three companies from the 2019 Call for Development process have been selected to “help deliver an exciting, inclusive and family friendly experience”.
The transformation of Ontario Place will include three new major attractions, which will be undertook by the three winning bidders:
Therme Group is building Therme Canada | Ontario Place, a family-friendly, all-season destination offering something for all ages, including pools, waterslides, botanical spaces to relax, as well as sports performance and recovery services. Outside, people will enjoy more than eight acres of free, publicly accessible gathering spaces, parkland, gardens and beaches.
Live Nation is redeveloping the existing amphitheatre into a modern, year-round indoor-outdoor live music and performance venue that will attract world-class artists and events. Protecting the iconic amphitheatre lawns, the new venue will have an expanded capacity of 20,000 in the summer and close to 9,000 in the winter, offering a unique indoor-outdoor experience with operable exterior walls to accommodate events, rain or shine.
Écorécréo Group is building an affordable, all-season adventure park for all ages. This new, environmentally friendly attraction will include aerial obstacle courses, net-based aerial adventures, ziplines, climbing walls, escape rooms and many other activities. Écorécréo Group will also operate Segway, quad-cycle, canoe and kayak rentals at the site.
The land the new attractions will be located on is not being sold by the province, and the government promises that the grounds with their lakeside access will be open year-round, including during construction periods. No condos are planned, nor will there be a casino, a previous plan by the Ontario Gaming Commission that was given thumbs down by Toronto City Council in 2012.
The province, which appointed former Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders as Special Advisor for Ontario Place in 2019, says that he “will continue to engage with the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities, key stakeholders, businesses and community groups that have interest in the Ontario Place site to ensure all perspectives on this important project are recognized and considered.”
The government is also talking with the Ontario Science Centre about creating “science-related tourism and educational programming at the Cinesphere and pod complex,” although no further details are yet known.
The public, meanwhile, will be given an opportunity in late August to share their vision for the site, while public information sessions will be held virtually in the fall, “with planning and development consultations related to the site-wide environmental assessment, heritage, and site servicing to follow in early 2022.”
Redevelopment is expected to create over 3,600 construction jobs and staff positions once the attractions open to the public, with approximately five million visitors expected annually.
The Ontario Place site is a unique waterfront site, made up of approximately 155 acres of land and water, and served as an iconic cultural and tourism destination for all Ontarians between 1971 and 2012.
Currently, more than one million people visit Ontario Place every year.
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