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    Future of Ontario Place

    One of the jewels of the Toronto waterfront is going to be redeveloped.


    August 15, 2012 3:35 PM

    McGuinty Government Endorses Panel Recommendations For Transformation

    Ontario is moving forward to transform Ontario Place into a year-round, multi-use waterfront community and urban park where families can live, work, play and discover along the water's edge.

    The government has endorsed the report by the Minister's Advisory Panel on Ontario Place Revitalization -- led by John Tory -- and all of its recommendations including the following design and development principles:

    • Must be accessible and welcoming to all who visit.
    • Be flexible and have the ability to adapt to changes over time to respond to different audiences and interests.
    • Respect and enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings by protecting sightlines to the water, creating easy public access to the waterfront and restoring a landscape culturally specific to Ontario and its waterfront.
    • No more than 10-15 per cent of the total land-water property can be residential.
    • Mixed-use community that may include space for commerce and business -- corporate headquarters, hotel, cafes, retail -- a research/education centre of excellence, and a range of entertainment and cultural activities.

    Over the coming months, the government will begin the necessary work to develop the site for development -- this could include site preparations, geotechnical investigations and surveys -- and start conversations with partners and the private sector to lay the foundation for the revitalization to take place.

    Revitalizing Ontario Place is part of the McGuinty Government's plan to establish an iconic, world-class destination along the waterfront for Ontarians that will offer a new era of experiences, create jobs and further strengthen the economy.

  • On June 6, the Ontario government accepted an early recommendation from the Advisory Panel and publicly announced that there will be no casino at Ontario Place.

    • An agency of the Government of Ontario, Ontario Place opened in 1971.
    • The Minister's Advisory Panel on Ontario Place Revitalization report contains 18 recommendations on how to transform Ontario Place.
    • On February 1, the Advisory Panel on Ontario Place Revitalization was established to advise the government on the redevelopment of the site
    • The Advisory Panel undertook a comprehensive process to develop their advice, including the review of previous studies and research, and stakeholder and public consultations.
    • On June 5, the Advisory Panel hosted a town hall to invite Ontarians to share their ideas on the future of Ontario Place.


    This report sets the vision for the redevelopment.

    It has just been released, will post more info shortly, recommendations below (emphasis ours)

    1. The new Ontario Place must be committed to design excellence in building, landscape and planning, as well as creative sustainable principles — this means ensuring a small ecological footprint in all that is developed.
    2. Any new development must respect and enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings by improving and protecting sightlines to the water, creating easy public access to the waterfront.
    3. Ontario Place should use a portion of its 155 land-water lot property (10 to 15 per cent) for residential development with buildings that demonstrate design excellence, sustainability principles and are sized appropriately. Ontario Place should also consider the feasibility of a hotel or resort.
    4. Ontario Place must be a place for people to work — not just visit or live.  From corporate headquarters to cafés and shops, the redevelopment should include space for commerce and business.
    5. Ontario Place should have a venue – like the original forum — for a range of cultural activities, from concerts and theatre, to performances, festivals and community events. The new venue should be designed to operate year-round.
    6. Ontario Place should look at a range of entertainment and cultural activities to infuse the community with vibrancy — and generate revenue to offset the operating costs of the new public space.
    7. Ontario Place should position itself as an ideal site for a research or education centre for excellence and work diligently to secure an institutional anchor tenant with international repute.
    8. Ontario Place and its waterfront must be accessible — an open door — and completely barrier free to all who visit.
    9. Ontario Place needs to be open year-round, offering compelling activities to draw a range of audiences throughout the different seasons.
    10. Ontario Place needs to be flexible and better able to adapt to changing times. It can do this through creative programming that engages with visitors in fresh, new ways; and new technologies that create connections with a tech-savvy generation of visitors.
    11. Ontario Place must demonstrate leadership in environmental sustainability and design excellence.  
    12. Ontario Place should respect and celebrate the natural landscape as well as the historical connections with the site.
    13. Future designs for Ontario Place should explore ways to feasibly include the iconic Cinesphere and pods.
    14. Ontario Place and Exhibition Place should explore the potential for joint master planning, shared access and transportation planning — to enrich the experience of visitors to both sites and to expand the blueprint of a unique destination.
    15. To achieve its full potential, Ontario Place must become a more flexible model based on strong private-public partnerships. It can become an inspiring and exemplary new model for future revitalization projects.
    16. Ontario Place should explore the potential for individual donors and corporate sponsors to help invest in a shared legacy project along the water of Lake Ontario. 
    17. The many assets in Ontario’s arts, culture and sporting sectors should be leveraged at Ontario Place — to offer a venue that showcases Ontario’s cultural diversity.
    18. Working with private sector and provincial and municipal partners, Ontario Place should explore new public transit opportunities to better access the western lakeshore area.

    The complete document can be found here:

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