Toronto might get its own giant European-style dome spa
It's looking more and more like the provincial government could, at the very least, entertain the idea of turning Ontario Place into a giant water-based entertainment complex of sorts.
Theme Group — the Austrian company behind one of the world's largest indoor spa complexes — has hired the Toronto-based lobbying firm StrategyCorp to consult with city officials about "a proposal in regard to Ontario Place."
At least five representatives working on behalf of Therme Group are now listed in the City of Toronto's lobbyist registry, four of them from StrategyCorp and one of them, Amir Remtulla, the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford's former chief of staff.
As journalist Matt Elliot points out in the latest edition of his City Hall Watcher newsletter, Therme is known for building and operating "giant domed spa complexes" — the kind that are popular overseas.
The latter spa, which spans 46 acres and includes a wide variety of themed indoor and outdoor spaces, is said to be visted by around 4,000 people every single day.
Needless to say, Therme Group is a big deal with a lot of money flowing through its 14 international locations. It's not wild to think that they'd be willing to invest in soliciting a prime spot on the waterfront of Canada's biggest city.
And it may have a shot, too.
Premier Doug Ford is currently on a quest to "maximize investment" in the former amusement park, which is owned by both the provincial government and the City of Toronto.
The provincial government announced at the end of May that it had launched a "world-wide search for development partners" to transform the 155-acre downtown Toronto landmark.
Rumours of ferris wheels, malls and gambling parlours have been circulating ever since and nothing — save for condos and casinos — has been ruled out.
It's hard to say what will come of Therme's lobbying efforts, but a year-round dome spa that serves alcohol and food wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to Ontario Place.
It would be nice to have somewhere to party in our bathing suits during the nine months of the year it's too cold outside to function. Just saying.
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