This past week, the Ontario government announced its future for Ontario Place, and this is what it will look like in years to come…. before l give you the breakdown, l must say that Premier Doug Ford’s announcements were very political and political smart considering an upcoming provincial election. His positions and announcements are ones that really cannot be criticized by the opposition parties and the general voting public.
Three companies have been selected to redevelop the Ontario Place theme park on Toronto’s waterfront, with plans for year-round attractions including a large concert venue, pools, gardens and an adventure park. Live Nation, Therme Group and Ecorecreo Group were selected from a 2019 call for development proposals. This new and improved venue will be open 365 days a year and costs and timelines for these projects are still being finalized, but they expect new amenities may be completed by 2030. Ford also said that the entire roll out will be totally transparent and open book to all of us… the taxpayers.
Therme Group is set to build an all-season park including pools, waterslides, sport services, botanical spaces and eight acres of free parks and beaches. Live Nation will redevelop the amphitheater into a year-round venue with an expanded audience capacity of 20,000 people outdoors and 9,000 people indoors.
Ecorecreo Group will build an adventure park with obstacle courses, ziplines, climbing walls and other activities and will run rentals for kayaks, canoes and other equipment. Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders was appointed special adviser to the redevelopment this year and he will continue as the provinces point man on this project. Public consultations will be held next month and continue into the fall. Planning and development consultations are slated for early next year.
Mayor John Tory stressed that the renewed Ontario Place will remain the public’s place. However, there was some criticism from councilor Joe Cressy that these important decisions about Ontario Place have been made entirely behind closed doors, without transparency and board meaningful input from the public or the City of Toronto who represents the downtown section. The provincial opposition party also criticized the government for not having consultations before many of these decisions were made.
The local Ontario Place for citizens have also commented that they hope that the ultimate price for the average person will be affordable for folks and their families to enter the park at affordable prices.
More will be said in coming months and years, but for now this is snapshot of what you can expect for Ontario Place and its future. It will be interesting to follow the agenda after the next provincial election and see if anything changes on this agenda, but for now this is what is proposed for Ontario Place.