Ontario Place to become 7.5 acre urban park by 2017
Ontario Place is set to become an urban park and waterfront trail, Tourism Minister Michael Chan revealed this morning. We already knew at least some of this, but at least a few more details were made public today. Of the 18 recommendations put together through a public consultation process, public accessibility and year-round use emerged as high priorities, both of of which are realized with this plan. That said, I'm sure that I'm not the only one who was expecting something, well, a bit more spectacular. Additional parkland is hardly something to complain about, but when revitalization plans were first disclosed, I recall most people dreaming bigger.
Although decidedly short on specifics, Chan did note that the park would feature 7.5 acres of greenspace and a waterfront trail. Significantly, the plan is to fast-track construction in the hopes of completing parts of the project in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015 (they're saying 2017 for full completion). It's hard to believe that they'd be able to get their act together so quickly — and potentially worrisome that the project could be pulled together with such haste — but one has to admire the ambition.
Chan would not discuss the budget for the project, noting that it was set to go through a competitive bids process, which could take place as early as July. Also absent from today's announcement was mention of the fate of the Cinesphere. You'd think there'd be a way to preserve the iconic structure given that today's plans don't include other structures slated to replace it, but it's unclear whether the 1971 building factors into the province's plans. More details will likely be revealed when a construction contract is awarded.
What do you think of the plans? Are they underwhelming?
Photo by Canuck with a camera in the blogTO Flickr pool