New details leaked about the revitalization of Ontario Place
Ontario Place, once the most fun amusement park in Toronto, has for many years been a mere shadow of its former self, its derelict structures and defunct rides and waterslides serving as relics of its '70s-'90s heydey.
Ever since it was shuttered in 2012, there have been numerous suggestions put forth for the 155 acre attraction, as well as wide speculation about its future, which has for years been up in the air as most parts of the prime island space go to waste.
Sure, there is still the Cinesphere, the performance venues Echo Beach and Budweiser Stage, drive-in movie nights, rentable fire pits and the beautiful (relatively) new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, but the summer fun and festivities that the park was once known for are long gone.
This makes me sick. Ford is going to ruin Ontario Place and there appears to be nothing anyone can do about it. Why, oh why, can't we just go back to the original concept, including free Forum concerts? Make Ontario Place Great Again.— Kelly MacGregor (@JKM708) July 22, 2021
There was at one point the potential for a casino, a massive ferris wheel, a commercial complex, a sprawling indoor-outdoor waterpark, a museum, condos, public gardens and green space, and more, as well as a decision that some of the property's existing assets would be protected, perhaps under heritage designation.
But all major plans seemed to fall flat or to stall in the early stages, all without public consultation to boot, rendering much of the space underused for nearly a decade.
But now, new details have finally been leaked about the companies that have put in their bids — and apparently been selected — to comprehensively revitalize the park, responding to a 2019 call from the province to make the space "a world-class year-round destination."
“There’s no public consultation,” said @SuzanneKavanagh, a founder of the grassroots group Ontario Place for All.— Pink Helmet TO (@PinkHelmetTO) July 22, 2021
Ms. Kavanagh and other local activists say they want more of Ontario Place turned into parkland and kept open to the public. @slnaspeaks @Waterfront4All https://t.co/YPsC0GxYW3
According to Globe and Mail sources who claim to have "direct knowledge of the bid process," three private firms will helm the Ontario Place revamp: Quebec outdoor recreation equipment company ÉcoRécréo Group, Austria-based "wellbeing resort" developer Therme Group, and Live Nation, which already operates the on-site music venues.
Though the particulars of the plans are still unreleased (as is the above information, formally, as of yet), it is easy to guess which components might be present in the new iteration of the park based on the specialties of the companies involved.
The Ontario government plans to give Quebec’s Écorécréo the reins for part of the 63-hectare site on Toronto’s waterfront, along with Austrian company Therme, the sources said. Live Nation, which runs the performance venue at Ontario Place, will have an expanded role.— Todd Kaighin (@ToddKaighin) July 22, 2021
As many have continued to note with concern, Toronto residents and the City itself have not only had no say in the future of the tenured attraction, but also virtually no knowledge of the alternatives that developers are proposing behind closed doors.
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