KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario government has released new details about its vision for the redevelopment of Ontario Place complete with expanded parkland, beaches, waterfront access and family-friendly entertainment.
“We’re bringing more to Ontario Place with more beaches, more greenspace, more trails and more fun with the Ontario Science Centre, a year-round Live Nation concert venue and expanded food and beverage offerings so families can enjoy a meal together,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Together with our partners, we’re building a world class, year-round destination that’s fun for families, students and tourists to enjoy for generations to come.”
The Ontario Science Centre will be moved to a custom-built, “state-of-the-art” facility, as well as in the preserved and upgraded iconic Cinesphere and Pod complex. It will bring exciting science-based educational programming to the heart of Ontario Place, sparking curiosity and innovation for a new generation of visitors, while inspiring young people towards the jobs of the future.
The province is also finalizing an agreement with Live Nation that will create a new, year-round concert venue attraction. Building on 25 years of memories, the brand-new amphitheatre will welcome 20,000 fans to an all-season venue, increasing its capacity, while also protecting its beloved grassy amphitheatre.
“Our government has a mandate to bring Ontario Place back to life,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “With today’s announcement, we are continuing to make progress on our vision to create a cultural and recreational landmark that will, once again, be fun for everyone. Together with the Ontario Science Centre, Live Nation and Therme Canada, we are creating an iconic destination on Toronto’s waterfront that will bring visitors from Ontario and around the world together, providing people of all ages with something to enjoy.”
“Live Nation Canada is proud of its history at Ontario Place, presenting and playing host to the biggest and best Canadian and international artists for close to 30 years. The revitalization of the Budweiser Stage will turn the iconic amphitheatre into a modern, year-round, sustainable live music and entertainment venue. We expect to welcome many more fans than we can today, create jobs, and provide significant ancillary economic benefits to the broader community.” said Wayne Zronik, President, Business Operations at Live Nation Canada.
As part of the global Call for Development to reinvigorate Ontario Place that launched in 2019, the province says it is actively discussing partnership opportunities with Ontario Live to provide family-friendly, world-class social, hospitality, and entertainment services. Made up of recognized leaders in their fields, including LiUNA, expert architects and the City of Toronto’s food, beverage and entertainment vendor for Exhibition Place since 2004.
Ontario is also sharing new recommended design concepts for future public spaces, including on the East Island and the expanded shoreline of the West Island, made possible by upgrades completed by Therme Canada.
“We’re thrilled to have LiveNation and the Ontario Science Centre as our future neighbours at a revitalized Ontario Place. Our proposal — to create a family-friendly wellbeing destination on the West Island, that will restore and reconnect visitors with water, with upgraded and improved public parks – is made even more exciting by today’s announcement. Together we can create a special place by the lake with activities for everyone all year around.: said Dr. Robert Hanea,CEO of Therme Group.
The concepts include Indigenous culture and place-keeping features and illustrate how the site will be revitalized and enhanced with new public trails, parkland, beaches and swimming areas with better access to the waterfront.
“We have a mutually respectful relationship with those involved in the redevelopment of the site and have found a willingness to work toward common ground. I believe when it is all said and done it will be viewed as a success.” stated Stacey LaForme, Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
The province will also engage with the market about opportunities for a new and improved public marina at Ontario Place, which will include retail, dining and family-friendly activities, making it a place where people can socialize, grab a meal and enjoy the water, year-round.
The new Ontario Science Centre will be integrated with an underground public parking facility designed for the future with electric bus and vehicle chargers. This underground parking facility will be self-financing, revenue-generating and will round out and complement the many transit and transportation options to get to and enjoy Ontario Place. This includes new pedestrian and cycle paths, as well as new transportation and transit options to connect Ontario Place and the Exhibition grounds directly to the Ontario Line subway. Alongside the new and improved marina and with Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport just down the street, people will benefit from unprecedented choice and convenience in how they travel to Ontario Place to enjoy fun for everyone.
The announcement comes not long after Toronto city planners released a report on the proposed redevelopment of Ontario Place, taking issue with the size of some of the private facilities and a five-storey underground garage.
Developers are expected to announce changes following an additional public consultation meeting in late May.
Officials say moving the Ontario Science Centre also creates a generational housing opportunity at the future site of a terminus station of the new Ontario Line with additional planned community infrastructure. The province will work with the City of Toronto on realizing this new opportunity and says it hopes to bring more affordable and attainable housing to the neighbourhood.
Once complete, Ontario Place will create thousands of new jobs and attract an estimated four to six million visitors each year according to the province.
Here’s a look at what’s planned.
The Water’s Edge will provide increased public access to the waterfront with the extension of the William G. Davis trail across the entire site. Access to the water is proposed to be improved with new features, including natural stone terraces, piers and lookout points.
The William G. Davis waterfront trail will be upgraded and extended across the entire site, creating full and improved public access to the shoreline.
Brigantine Cove will feature a canoe/kayak launch, children’s play village, floating wetlands, a small beach and a new pathway.
Restored and naturalized shoreline along the south edge of Brigantine Cove, including a new public boardwalk and floating wetlands that will create peaceful and welcoming green space for people to enjoy year-round.
The Forum will allow for cultural and community events, such as concerts, markets, art festivals and celebrations. The area will also include an innovative and interactive one-acre all-season play fountain that visitors can splash around and cool off in during the summer.
The marina will be rejuvenated as a destination for waterside cafes, boating amenities and cultural programming. We will engage with the market on opportunities to redevelop the marina into a centerpiece of the Ontario Place redevelopment, including new retail, dining, cafes, and family-friendly activities. The marina will be modernized, making it a place for visitors and boaters to enjoy the water and create memories for generations to come.
The mainland will make room for everyone to enjoy a new Ontario Place Plaza that will welcome all visitors to the site, along with a new public, year-round promenade across the entire mainland waterfront. This will serve as a unique event and festival space that will be home to pavilions and an urban beach.
Click here for a look at the development partners such as Therme Spa and Live Nation:https://www.ontario.ca/page/recommended-design-concepts-ontario-place#section-0