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Caesars releases Convention Centre casino renderings

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 2, 2012

toronto Caesars casinoFirst Oxford Properities showed its hand with a series of images depicting a revamped Metro Toronto Convention Centre at the heart of a $3-billion casino proposal, now American gambling giant Caesars has followed suit with its own ideas for what a gaming facility on the site could look like.

Decidedly understated compared to the giant residential towers and sprawling park proposed by Oxford Properties, the renderings show a relatively low-key entrance to the facility on Front Street near the Rogers Centre and a concept for an urban park and performance space in the surrounding area. That said, several towers loom semi-transparently in the background without a mention in the accompanying press release.

toronto Caesars casinoAccording to information released with the images, the three-storey glass building that includes the main entrance to the complex is "sophisticated and modern" and designed to integrate into the city's "urban fabric." It's also supposed to compliment our "pedestrian-friendly" streets and Toronto's "robust" transit system (gosh, such compliments.)

The company also hints at its agreements with musical acts such as Celine Dion, Elton John, Shania Twain, and Rod Stewart, possible visitors to the "year-round" outdoor venue perhaps. Dion's name is shown in bright lights on stage at the "Colosseum" while a modest crowd looks on from the lawn. I'm not sure it would be the same story in the dead of winter mind you.

Caesars hasn't officially locked onto the convention centre as its preferred location but these images give some idea as to what the company is thinking. Perhaps the small-scale complex is designed to work in contrast to other grander proposals. Retail and dining outlets on the site are also included in the drawings on the edge of the performance space.

Recently, Rob Ford said he would prefer a downtown casino to be on city land (which the Convention Centre isn't) and hinted he'd like to see $100-million in revenue for Toronto and between 10 and 20 thousand new jobs.

What do you think of these latest images? Do you think this proposal is better than the one detailed by Oxford Properties? Is an outdoor performance venue what downtown needs?

Images: Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Discussion

38 Comments

Rob K / November 2, 2012 at 01:06 pm
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I don't understand why his can't be at Woodbine or at the Ex? I'm not keen on the idea of a downtown casino - and not because of the ills that have previously been mentioned, I just don't think it works downtown. A casino should be a destination-type space and this works where there is a lot of room and many options, including hotels and convention space, or slots and horse racing. Move this up to Woodbine and build there.
Jeff / November 2, 2012 at 01:11 pm
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No mention of this rendering/location/plan/company being approved by the government? Despite what Rob Ford wants or says, gambling and casinos is administrated by the provincial level of government and he doesn't really get much of a say in what will happen (definitely a good thing).
v79 replying to a comment from Rob K / November 2, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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While it could most certainly be at the Ex or Ontario Place, Woodbine would defeat the purpose. I just held a large event nearby recently, and it's truly inconvenient to get to and in the middle of nowhere. You want it at a place that has the hotel capacity and surrounding infrastructure to make it appealing. There are already plenty of hard to get to Casinos in the province, why make another one just because it's technically within city limits? The tourists won't come. Personally I have no problem with the Convention Centre location, but this design is entirely lackluster. We already have enough forgettable buildings, why not go for something that can become a landmark?
Marion / November 2, 2012 at 01:31 pm
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I like the idea of the retracting wall that opens to create an outdoor music venue overlooking a park. Would the seating area be accessible by everyone for free or does this mean metal barriers and line ups? I am wondering if this is a romantic notion or a realistic possibility. Otherwise, it's just another group of glass buildings.
Deric replying to a comment from Rob K / November 2, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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I agree with Rob - I don't think a casino works at this location. Front st? MTCC? Such a business vibe, it's not a tourist spot, and a casino wouldn't change that.

However, I do agree that it needs to be in the core of the city, and Woodbine doesn't do that. The transit to that location sucks, and no offence to those that live in the surrounding area, but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of the type of built up metropolis that visitors want to see. You might as well build it in Mississauga, or Vaughan if you build it there.

I think that the province dropped the ball by ruling out an Ontario Place casino, and think that the city would be making a bigger mistake if they rule out the Exhibition grounds. The casino could go toward modernizing and revitalizing events like the CNE, because they know that it brings people in to their space.

Aside from that space, the only other place I would suggest would be in the Portlands/Harbourfront areas, or maybe somewhere like Downsview.

We need to have this in a place that already has the infrastructure, not somewhere we can HOPE to build up into what it needs to be.
EricM replying to a comment from Marion / November 2, 2012 at 01:39 pm
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I don't know why they would even float it as an idea. One of the problems with Casino's in general is they are basically a self contained space. You gamble, eat onsite, gamble, see a show, gamble and go shopping without ever leaving the complex. That is the point in the design and I don't think this would be different. I hate the idea, it undermines a city that is one of the largest in North America and as for helping surrounding business? Unless you own a shop in the casino complex the casino will do everything possible to make sure it's like the hotel California where you can check in but never leave.
Alex / November 2, 2012 at 01:48 pm
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I thought they said casino's generally bring in under $10 million for the host city in Ontario? I don't understand how they could get all the way up to $100 million from that. Also, 10,000 jobs seems like a skyhigh number too. Especially since the vast majority of them would be part time. The casino company would basically have to build us a subway for me to consider it a net gain for the city, and they are definitely not going to do that.
maash / November 2, 2012 at 01:51 pm
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All I can say is: ew ew ew ew ew

These renderings are UGLY.
Rick / November 2, 2012 at 02:03 pm
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I've always said the MTCC is the perfect place for a downtown casino. You have great accessibility via Union station. It totally fits in with the tourist aspect of downtown regardless of the business element. You have lots of people coming in for Leafs games and concerts to the ACC, CN tower, Jays and Argos at the Rogers Center, and coming soon Ripley's Aquarium. Its a no brainer.
doubledown / November 2, 2012 at 02:07 pm
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The casino will be a great place to meet alcoholics in the middle of the night. I, for one, back it hard! Though I'd like to see it a bit bigger.
Some guy / November 2, 2012 at 02:08 pm
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This is the problem with Toronto.
Everyone thinks they know whats best for everyone else.
Honestly, mind your own business.
If i want to go to a casino and gamble my hard earned money, who the hell are you to tell me otherwise. Who made you my saviour? Pathetic...

Now on to gambling issues...
As someone else has mentioned before, gambling is really accessible no matter where you are. Just log onto a website and gamble all your money away if you like. Saying that a casino will increase gambling is just stupid. If you are a gambler already then you are probably doing it online already or through other means. Sure they might go to the casino when it opens, but it doesn't change the fact that they were gamblers already.
0.2% of GTA adults have a serious gambling problem! 0.2%!!! That isn't even half of 1%! All you people are worried about is the .2% of problem gamblers!!!??

You people HAVE to start worrying about your own lives and stop telling people what they should or should not do. It is not your place.

Regardless the Casino will come and if you do not like it, move to the burbs where you dont need to worry about a casino.
Oh wait, they already have casinos in the burbs, so i guess you are s#it out of luck...
Sean / November 2, 2012 at 02:13 pm
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Ugly indeed. Woodbine already has some slot machines and lots of parking. It's too late to consider downtown as it's too congested with condos.
SJB / November 2, 2012 at 02:14 pm
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Horrible! Sad day if this does get built! The last thing our city needs is a Caesars! Downward spiral commence!
hendrix replying to a comment from Some guy / November 2, 2012 at 02:30 pm
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Dude, umm, that's the whole point of society... to limit you for good reasons (the social costs of gambling are enormous).
To complain about people telling you what to do is stupid. It's like complaining that I can't smoke in a restaurant now... so passe.
George / November 2, 2012 at 02:40 pm
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Some of the comments are unbelievable,

A casino would attract conventions. It would attract tourism. It would fill hotels. It would fill restaurants. It would present another option for things to do for locals. This location makes the most sense.

Of course gambling could be problematic. So can many others things in life that we are already surrounded with.
Lee Zamparo replying to a comment from Some guy / November 2, 2012 at 02:40 pm
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No one's trying to save you. The push for a casino is being driven by developers and the desperation of the Ontario provincial government. Gamble if you like, there are plenty of places in which to do so. I don't see how your desire to Live Free and Gamble is coupled with the argument against this dreadful building in middle of downtown. People spend a lot of time downtown, and people care about how the city looks. I expect many, myself included, would rather not look upon a gaudy monstrosity such as this all the time.
Ryan / November 2, 2012 at 02:57 pm
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Don't want. Casinos are for cities that don't have anything else to offer. (Montreal-exception)

Put that crap in Mississauga
Tony / November 2, 2012 at 03:05 pm
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A casino is coming. These companies would not go out of their way to create drawings if they havent been told behind closed doors. There are 3 locations they are looking at 1. Ontario Place 2. The Ex 3. Front St. Mind you it looks like only 2 in reality The Ex and Front St. The question right now is not "if" but "when".
NOCASINO / November 2, 2012 at 03:35 pm
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a couple years ago the city spent millions studying a proposed casino in down town and the results were a big fat NO TO CASINO! so why now that an american company is allowed to build a casino here. i bet some city councillors is getting a huge kickback if the plan goes through. another question why isn't donald trump in the bidding?
Some guy replying to a comment from Lee Zamparo / November 2, 2012 at 03:40 pm
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Have you been downtown recently?
Clearly you haven't...
Funny how you mention how you would not rather look upon a gaudy monstrosity, have you seen downtown recently? Clearly the hundreds of condos that all look the same is no problem.
Have you seen the MTCC? It has to be one of the ugliest buildings in that area if not the city.
At least a casino would make the area look better and way more interesting.
With the Rogers centre, CN Tower, ACC and the Ripley's aquarium and the lake all within walking distance it would be the perfect addition.

As soon as people hear casino, they think its going to be this huge casino with thousands of slots and table games. The reality is that only about 10% will be a gaming floor and the rest will be hotels, entertainment complex's that could bring some interesting shows to the city.

As someone who was born and raised in downtown I would love to see this built. Not necessarily this Cesars version but something interesting that adds to the area.
Adding to the area shouldn't be that hard, anything other then a condo would stand out...
l'ilguy replying to a comment from Some guy / November 2, 2012 at 03:57 pm
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Agreed.

d.

Rob K replying to a comment from v79 / November 2, 2012 at 04:07 pm
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You could easily extend the Finch LRT to Woodbine, plus the Airport is close by so getting there by car won't be difficult. The plot of land is ripe for this kind of development. Again, taking my premise that a casino is a destination space, and as mentioned previously a self-contained environment, you need to build it in the middle of nowhere to make it a place to go for people. Don't think of Woodbine as it is right now, which, yes, is a bit uninspiring, think of what it can be, and what it can be is a casino, with convention space, with a permanent hotel and space for shows - this is what we should be aiming for.
Rob K replying to a comment from Rob K / November 2, 2012 at 04:09 pm
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You could even have shuttles running from Kipling and the Airport in a loop to the Woodbine casino. Getting there won't be a problem. That location is more ideal than it appears.
TorontoLover / November 2, 2012 at 05:00 pm
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Horrifying. More tacky than I could have imagined.
Bubba / November 2, 2012 at 09:22 pm
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Rob Ford and his crooked scum bag cronies can take this casino and shove it up their fat arses!
yestocasino replying to a comment from Some guy / November 2, 2012 at 09:36 pm
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I agree with you. This particular design is ugly, yes, but the downtown core needs it.
Meh / November 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm
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It's a lot harder to yes or no it will have an economic impacts. There are a lot of variables, which can impact the potential spillover effects of a casino. For example, see below:

1. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&;context=larp_ms_projects
2. http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/04/01/garrett.pdf
3. http://www.stlouisfed.org/community_development/assets/pdf/casinogambling.pdf

There is a lot of research on the subject, and it's akin to saying that an arena has large spillover effects, which is not always the case. A casino's economic impact will depend on factors that are both exogenous and endogenous to the structure itself.
acv66 / November 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm
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anything but a condo downtown wont happen, as long as Adam Vaughn in in government
asas replying to a comment from Rob K / November 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm
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they already have shuttle buses running from Kipling to the airport and pass woodbine, one is the 191 and the other is the 192 i think
Elena / November 3, 2012 at 03:16 am
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I worked at CNE casino before. Most of the patrons are rude and cheap. And there are a couple of hookers that hang about all the time. Building a casino will definitely attract this kind of crowd to it. I have worked both day and night shifts, I can say for sure there is a huge difference in the types that frequents the casino. The night shifts are where I am basing the rude and cheapness from.

My question is, what is the reason behind this? Is it to generate tourism revenue? Vancouver has a casino, but do tourists visit Vancouver because of the casino? The money that goes into the casino will be from Torontonians and GTA folks. How does this benefit Toronto itself when the money belongs to Torontonians. It'll just make people more poor, especially the demographic of casino goers that I have encountered aren't from an income that allows them to gamble. (If you worked at the cne casino, maybe you heard of John from Texas Hold em on the specialty tables. If not, he's a frequent player from 8pm to 3-5am. His shirt has holes in it, and he needs a bath. He says he's unemployed and is on welfare.)

This generating 20k jobs? Yeah I'm sure it does, but 90% of them will be part time jobs with minimal incomes and high turn over rates. You'll get people who are desperate to work with low income. Not everyone is a student trying to work part time to pay of tuition or have spending money.

This casino plan sounds like a short term grab for money. Long term, I don't see any benefit from it. The crowd generated from this won't be good. I agree with Lee Zamporo, it will ruin the image of Toronto. Not physical image like Some Guy had suggested. Why is an American company planning this? Doesn't that mean the revenue won't go to Toronto? The only money that comes out from them is land they are renting at a fixed rate. I'm not too sure how foriegn investments work.

Anyways, this is my opinion as an ex casino worker. I'm definitely nay with this. Casinos do pay well at some places, dealers get about $17/h, but the high turn over rate isn't worth it. Especially some pit bosses are purely there to power trip.
Arne Darvin replying to a comment from Rob K / November 3, 2012 at 03:16 am
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THIS, 200%!

All of this could be built at Woodbine and kept there, , with shuttle buses taking people there; we DON'T need this here in downtown Toronto. Heck, it could even be built near Canada's Wonderland.
Con Goer / November 3, 2012 at 03:28 am
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Well I hope convention space will still be there. Imagine the fan expo crowd in the casino. I want to see cosplayers gambling with the casino goers!!
Aaron / November 3, 2012 at 04:08 am
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Well isn't that the most craptastic, tacky POS that I've ever seen.

Casino + mega shopping mall: Progressive city building, 1992 style.
Rob K replying to a comment from Elena / November 3, 2012 at 09:46 am
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What's behind this? Greed from the OLG and province who need cash desperately to pay down the deficit, and other projects. Why do you think McGuinty appointed Paul Godfrey to the position of Chair of the OLG, he's done this kind of swindling before with the SkyDome - who is a more perfect candidate to come back to the city well a second time? This is also why the OLG is moving towards developing online gambling and making it easier to bet on single games - all for the cash.

For Toronto, this is a pure cash grab in terms of property taxes and the payout by OLG for serving as a host city - which could be quite sizeable. This is why Rob Ford is pushing for this to be housed on city land. The City of Toronto's own report suggests, although I find it dubious, the fees generated from a potential casino at the MTCC or CNE could be enough to plug the 'fiscal hole' that is generated at the start of the year, before the City begins to collect revenues. For someone campaigning on fixing finances and the structural deficit, this is right up their alley - dubious or not.
Yeran Idiot / November 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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Is this really the best idea our so called civic and provincial leaders can come up with for economic development? Is there no creativity or innovation left? Really? The best we can do is mimic American gangster culture?

If we must build a temple to the gods of chance, at the very least we should be financing, building and operating it ourselves to ensure that all the benefit isn't simply siphoned off to fill corporate coffers south of the line.
Evelyne / December 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm
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zespół muzyczny Toruń / January 5, 2013 at 09:20 pm
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zespół muzyczny Toruń / April 9, 2013 at 02:26 pm
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