ontario place government

Provincial government announces new vision for Ontario Place

Downtown Toronto's newly-renovated "public backyard" could soon be headed the way of actual backyards for most of the city's residents: Nonexistent.

After months of unclear and foreboding comments about the future of Ontario Place, Doug Ford's provincial government just announced that they are now accepting proposals for the sprawling site's redevelopment.

A news release published Friday afternoon states that the province's "new vision for Ontario Place" will "maximize investment to develop the site as a top destination to visit, while sending a strong signal around the world that Ontario is open for business."

Ideas for making this happen floated by Minister of Tourism Michael Tibollo include buildling sports and entertainment landmarks, shopping spaces, public parks and additional "places for recreation" on the 155-acre complex.

No part of the site is safe, according to an Expression of Interest document, except for "the land where the Budweiser Stage is situated," as it is already subject to an existing lease.

This means that the iconic Cinesphere, pods, mainland and islands are all up for grabs (or demolition, as it were.)

Those who choose to bid on the project will have the opportunity to develop "one of Ontario’s most desirable and unique waterfront properties," according to the government, but with some exceptions:

  • The government intends to maintain 7.5 acres of park land at Ontario Place, so any submissions involving Trillium Park must also propose "new park land of an equivalent size" somewhere onsite.
  • Residential properties are off-limits.
  • The land will only be leased, not sold.
  • Propsals that require the province to chip in money for planning, design, construction, or operations "will not be considered."

None of the documents published to date make any mention of a casino, which should come as some relief to the many Torontonians who hate the idea of turning our beautiful waterfront paradise into a cheesy gambling hole.

Don't relax too much just yet, though. Aside from the rules mentioned above, it looks like pretty much anything goes in terms of what can be proposed.

Who knows what DoFo and his homies will decide on our behalf this time?

Lead photo by

Lisa de-Jong


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