Ontario Place spa developer's sneaky move has social media very suspicious
The controversial scheme to redevelop Ontario Place has faced resistance from the get-go, and community organization Ontario Place for All (OP4A) has emerged as one of the plan's most vocal detractors.
The developer planning to build the massive spa at Ontario Place, known as Therme Group, ruffled the feathers of OP4A and its supporters over the weekend by inexplicably changing its Twitter handle to the curiously similar-looking "Ontario Place for Everyone," swapping out a single word with an identical meaning.
.@ThermeCanada now you're just trolling us. Your raison d'etre is to build a private spa on public space. We're happy to rename ourselves Therme Canada and announce we're leaving Ontario Place, deal? #topoli #onpoli pic.twitter.com/HWxrwV8xZA— Ontario Place for All © (@ONPlace4All) March 31, 2023
OP4A immediately called out the perceived encroachment on and obfuscation of its branding, pointing out that it has been using the "Ontario Place for All" name since 2019.
Seriously @ThermeCanada? Stealing our tagline is either trolling or astroturfing. Neither is a good look for you. We’ve been using this tagline since 2019. #topoli #onpoli https://t.co/NEBbwSCvSi pic.twitter.com/zToL8TPQxd— Ontario Place for All © (@ONPlace4All) April 1, 2023
Supporters of the organization and other critics of the Ontario Place redevelopment plan are reacting with anger to Therme Group's change in social media handles, noting its apparent similarity to the OP4A branding.
It’s disgusting that @ThermeCanada is using “Ontario Place for Everyone” when it will be anything but. It’s so close to @ONPlace4All but not fooling anyone. https://t.co/cCSGHy0X1H— kay (@cyclekay) April 1, 2023
"Ontario Place For All and NOT Ontario Place for Everyone," reads one comment, adding, "which Therme apparently stole right out of Ontario Place For All's literature."
Another person characterizes the campaign as "every bit as sleazy as we can expect" and calls out Therme's plan to replace "our beautiful waterfront with unnatural, vulgar excess at Ontario taxpayers' expense."
Tricks are not going to win over public opinion. Shame on you #ThermeGroup/#ThermeCanada, and on your PR advisors. This smells of desperation. It's tacky, plain and simple.— Ron Thompson (@thompsron) April 1, 2023
Build somewhere else.#onpoli #torpoli
A representative of OP4A didn't hold back when asked for comment on Therme's social media campaign, telling blogTO, "Therme's brand is toxic; no one wants the private spa at Ontario Place, so they are attempting to steal our good name. It's astroturfing, plain and simple."
We have a term for this, it’s astroturfing. Typical maneuver for a private business trying to take public resources.— Ontario Place for All © (@ONPlace4All) March 31, 2023
OP4A has since added a trademark symbol to the end of its Twitter ID, further differentiating the now-confusingly-similar-looking accounts with very different goals.
blogTO contacted Therme Canada, and was told by a company representative that, "we changed our display name because it better reflects our plans, which are to create an Ontario Place for everyone, including nearly 12 acres of new and improved public spaces on the West Island."
Therme states it is "in the midst of our public engagement process and hosting regular opportunities for everyone to share their input on these plans," amid continued resistance from groups fighting said plans.
Meanwhile, redevelopment plans faced their first big snag this week when a city report slammed the proposal for its size and threats of obstructing heritage landmarks.
Join the conversation Load comments