budweiser stage

Ontario Place's iconic Budweiser Stage amphitheatre is getting a massive revamp

Anyone who frequents concerts in Toronto can tell you that Budweiser Stage (formerly the Molson Amphitheare) is low-key the best live music venue around... on beautiful summer evenings, at least.

Idyllic as taking in a show from the waterfront venue may be during warmer months, it's not so great on a chilly day in October when the wind picks up — and virtually useless over winter, when the outdoor venue is forced to close.

Perhaps sensing a missed opportunity and, obviously seeing a new one emerge in the form of Doug Ford's grand Ontario Place revamp, Live Nation has decided to spiffy up their beloved 25-year-old gem of a venue into a veritable crown jewel.

One of three companies chosen by the provincial government to redevelop Ontario Place along Toronto's western waterfront, the American entertainment company plans to fully transform Budweiser Stage into "a modern, year-round, indoor-outdoor live music and performance venue."
budweiser stage

The iconic outdoor venue, first opened as the Molson Amphitheatre in 1995, will be bigger and better than ever when the redevelopment of Ontario Place is complete. Image via Province of Ontario.

After a full redesign and rebuild, the amphitheatre will expand from its current capacity of around 16,000 to some 20,000 in the summer months (and 9,000 during the winter, during which capacity is currently zero.)

"The new state-of-the-art amphitheater will continue to attract world-class artists and provide premier live entertainment, hosting live music and other events, " said the province on Friday when formally announcing its development partners for Ontario Place (Austrian spa operator Therme and Quebec-based adventure park specialists Écorécréo have also been chosen for the project.)

"With sustainability at the heart of the design, the redesigned amphitheatre at Ontario Place will be designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most."

These metrics are listed as "energy savings, water efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts."

A microsite for the Ontario Place redevelopment project promises that the "iconic amphitheatre lawns" will be protected, and that retractable walls will help accommodate events in all types of weather. Lord knows Toronto needs that kind of flexibility with our wonky climate.

Once complete, the new facility is expected to attract up to one million visitors per year — but that's still a bit down the road.

Extensive public consultations must take place before any shovels hit the ground. The government says it will "continue to engage with the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities, project stakeholders, businesses and community groups that have interest in the Ontario Place site" to ensure all perspectives are recognized and considered.

Completion of the new amphitheatre is currently forecast for sometime in 2030. Hopefully, the earth hasn't melted down completely by that point.

Lead photo by

Province of Ontario

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