Science Centre move to Ontario Place confirmed by Doug Ford
Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Ontario Science Centre is officially moving to Ontario Place, despite the waterfront space already being embroiled in a controversial redevelopment process itself.
Ford previously hinted that the science museum would be relocating to the provincially-owned waterfront space last week, but has since provided additional details to redevelop Ontario Place into a "world-class, year-round destination."
The announcement was made alongside Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma and Minister of Tourism Neil Lumsden.
"We've all grown up going to the Science Centre, it's tired," Ford said at the press conference.
We have an exciting plan to bring more fun for everyone at #OntarioPlace!— Doug Ford (@fordnation) April 18, 2023
Tune in as we provide an update on this world-class, year-round and family-friendly destination.https://t.co/l1zSfUolPd
The relocated tourist attraction will bring science-based educational programming to a brand new custom-built facility, all while preserving Ontario Place's iconic Cinesphere and Pod complex.
"The Science Centre is a public treasure, which is why our government for the last number of years has been looking at whether or not the option of relocation to preserve the Science Centre should take place," Surma said.
"Now, the structure itself has deteriorated as well, as has Ontario Place. Our government is making the financial investments necessary to preserve these two treasures to bring them back to life, to make them a place that everyone can go and enjoy with their families."
Doug Ford says Science Centre is moving to Ontario Place and people are freaking out https://t.co/VNEeIwt7Ur #DougFord #ScienceCentre #OntarioPlace— blogTO (@blogTO) April 13, 2023
Surma revealed that the Science Centre will move to Ontario Place in 2025, and the original site will remain open until it is officially relocated.
Site servicing work is officially slated to begin this spring to upgrade and modernize Ontario Place's existing infrastructure, as well as prepare for redevelopment.
According to the province, the redevelopment of Ontario Place will create roughly 5,000 new jobs, yield millions of dollars in revenue, and attract an estimated four to six million visitors each year.
The provincial government is also finalizing an agreement with Live Nation to create a year-round concert venue attraction with a brand-new amphitheatre that will comfortably host 20,000 fans.
Austrian company Therme Group is also set to build a private water recreation and wellness centre on Ontario Place's West Island.
Toronto is excited about getting a new beach but not what it needs to give up to get it https://t.co/lJBvTvnzVW #Toronto— blogTO (@blogTO) December 2, 2022
However, Ontario Place's redevelopment plans have prompted heavy criticism from advocates who argue that the waterfront space should not be home to a private spa or a revamped science museum.
"Moving the Ontario Science Centre down to Ontario Place would remove an attraction that creates jobs and opportunity for that community," advocacy group Ontario Place For All said in a press release.
We agree! https://t.co/auMWuxPnu5— Ontario Place for All © (@ONPlace4All) April 18, 2023
"Ontario Place for All is also concerned with the rhetoric from the Ontario Government that the Science Centre needs to be torn down. The Ontario Science Centre is another key heritage building, designed by renowned Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, which should be preserved."
Former city councillor and mayoral candidate Ana Bailão has also supported the idea of relocating the Science Centre to Ontario Place, prior to Ford's announcement.
If elected as mayor, Bailão revealed that she would approve building 5,000 new homes, including 1,500 affordable homes on the land where the Science Centre's parking is located, as well as on the land outside of the ravine.
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