TORONTO, Canada — The Ontario government has announced details of its plan to revitalize Ontario Place into a world-class destination. Three successful participants from the 2019 Call for Development process Therme Group, Live Nation and Écorécréo Group will help deliver an exciting, inclusive and family-friendly experience that will play a key role in the province’s post-pandemic recovery, both as a tourism destination and as a display of Ontario’s strong cultural identity. The government also outlined the next phase of consultations with stakeholders and community members.
Details were provided by premier Doug Ford; Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries; John Tory, Mayor of Toronto; Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation; Robert Hanea, CEO of Therme Group; Wayne Zronik, president of business operations at Live Nation Canada; and Jean-Philippe Duchesneau, co-owner of Écorécréo Group.
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Ontario Place this year, there is no better time to bring this iconic destination back to life,” said premier Ford. “By taking this first step with our world-class development partners, as well as the City of Toronto and Indigenous communities, we will deliver a renewed Ontario Place that provides year-round entertainment for all ages and interests. As we continue to engage and consult with the community, Ontario Place will realize its full potential as a long-term economic generator for the people of Ontario.”
The transformation of Ontario Place will include three new major attractions:
- 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 province actively searched for the best partners from around the world to work with on the redevelopment of Ontario Place. Potential development partners on this unique opportunity were assessed against four primary areas of consideration: alignment with the government’s vision of a world-class, year-round destination; concept viability; delivery certainty; and costs and benefits to the province, as well as public feedback and input provided through consultations conducted by previous governments. This fair, transparent and open process was designed and facilitated by Infrastructure Ontario and its advisors (KPMG and Colliers) to provide flexibility for interested parties to propose unique, yet financially viable and sustainable, development concepts.
“When Ontario Place opened in 1971 under the leadership of premier Bill Davis, it was designed to reflect all that we, as Ontarians, embodied: our heritage, our diversity, our creativity and our future potential. Ontario Place holds a special place in our hearts and minds thanks to the countless family-friendly events and activities that have been enjoyed there over the past 50 years,” said minister MacLeod.
“Our government remains committed to redeveloping Ontario Place in a sustainable way – respecting our historical and natural features while at the same time showcasing Ontario as the world in one province – a true reflection of our diversity and multiculturalism, while also showing respect for the rich traditions, cultures and heritage of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples. A modern, new Ontario Place will attract local, provincial and international visitors, and create unforgettable memories for a new generation.”
As the redevelopment moves forward, public input will be critical to support the planning and development of the site. Mark Saunders, special advisor for Ontario Place, will continue to engage with the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities, project stakeholders, businesses and community groups that have interest in the Ontario Place site to ensure all perspectives on these important proposals are recognized and considered.
Starting in August, the government will launch the next phase of engagement through Ontario.ca/OntarioPlace, providing an opportunity for all Ontarians to share how they would like to experience a redeveloped Ontario Place. Virtual public information sessions will also be held in the fall with planning and development consultations related to the site-wide environmental assessment, heritage, and site servicing to follow later in the year.
The redevelopment website,Ontario.ca/OntarioPlace, will be kept up to date with the latest information about planned public and stakeholder engagement.
Across the site, public spaces will be enhanced and brought up to modern standards with new parks, promenades, trails and beaches. Key heritage and recreational features of the site will be retained and integrated into the redevelopment, including the Cinesphere, the pod complex, the marina, Trillium Park and the William G. Davis Trail. The province will also work with the Ontario Science Centre to explore opportunities to have science-related tourism and educational programming at the Cinesphere and pod complex.
A redeveloped Ontario Place will not include casinos or condos and the land will not be sold. Ontario Place will remain open to the public 365 days a year, with free public access and a waterfront experience that can be enjoyed by all.
“We are committed to working with the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities and organizations, and other key partners to make this vision a reality and to guide collaboration and future development of the Ontario Place and Exhibition Place sites,” said minister MacLeod. “Our government is committed to engaging and keeping the public and stakeholders informed. As we move forward, public input will be critical to support the planning and development of the site. More information about upcoming consultations related to redevelopment planning will be provided later this summer.”