Ontario Place to get $100 million make-over
Ontario Place is getting a $100 million make-over from the province that will transform the former entertainment venue into a brand new waterfront park.
At a press event this morning, the Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Coteau, said the first phases of the project--a waterfront promenade with shops and restaurants, expanded outdoor music facilities, and an large outdoor space named Celebration Common--will be completed by 2016.
The famous Cinesphere and pods will be saved from demolition, he said, though it's not clear when they will be re-opened.
The Molson Amphitheatre will continue to operate as a live music venue, though it the future is less certain for Echo Beach, which doesn't appear in the latest renderings. The province said it is "exploring options to bring live music acts to the site year-round" in a news release.
Among the other features announced today is a landscaped pedestrian bridge that will connect the western part of Ontario Place with Lake Shore Blvd.
The plan does not include a residential component. The province said the park, which first opened in 1971, "should remain public."
In July 2012, the Ontario Place advisory panel released a set of 18 recommendations on how to renovate the 63-hectare site, including placing a focus on environmental and cultural activities that are accessible to the public. The document also suggested setting aside a small portion of the land for residential use, but it appears that idea has been shelved.
The first portion of the Ontario Place revitalization that will turn a former parking lot on the eastern portion of the land into a landscaped park is in the final design stages and is due to be open in 2015.
The next phase of the project includes an environmental assessment and a series of public consultations. Work is also required to clean up some of the soil.
What do you think of the plans?
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Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.