2021 will be critical for Ontario Place
Ontario Place for All hopes you are well and staying safe during this COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 was a brutal year for all of us, and we can only hope things will be better next year.
2021 will be the most important year for Ontario Place since its inception. It’s the 50th anniversary of its opening and we should finally see the government’s redevelopment plans. The government continues to refuse to meet with Ontario Place for All, despite our numerous requests to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Lisa MacLeod. The Premier has committed to consulting with Mayor Tory, but that is not good enough. While the pandemic has delayed the process, it has not eliminated the need to engage the public.
The COVID pandemic has underlined the public importance of Ontario Place. While numerous facilities have been shuttered around the world, hundreds of thousands of people continue to flock to Ontario Place, to relax on the lawns, walk or ride a bike, and enjoy everything the park has to offer. Some are still swimming, despite the approach of winter. The drive-in movies are still on, and some of them are holiday-themed. It is so important for our physical and mental health to get out as often as allowed, and Ontario Place is a perfect place to take a winter walk.
The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries said in a speech in October that the redevelopment of Ontario Place is her first priority. “Ontario Place will be central to the recovery of heritage, culture sport and tourism for all Ontarians as we move through the pandemic.” Lisa MacLeod did not spell out exactly what that means but promised that “the historical components of Ontario Place will be protected.” An article by CBC News said MacLeod’s priorities will be to maintain the parkland at Ontario Place and ensure the site reflects the province’s diverse population. Ontario Place for All is waiting to see more details.
Support is Growing
There is some good news amidst all this uncertainty: A new group has joined the coalition fighting to protect Ontario Place. The World Monuments Fund, Architectural Conservancy Ontario and Daniels Faculty at the University of Toronto have come together to form The Future of Ontario Place Project. The project is working to build the public’s understanding of the heritage values of the site. It has compiled the first consolidated public archives of Ontario Place and called for counter-proposals in a Canada-wide design challenge. Urban Toronto recently wrote about their efforts in an article “Call to Action: Protecting the Future of Ontario Place”.
Those Were The Days
And finally, we want to make sure you have read the recent article in BlogTO, “That Time When Ontario Place Was The Most Fun Amusement Park in Toronto”. It’s a wonderful piece about Ontario Place at its most popular and attractive, with photos and videos showing the Children’s Village, the Forum and people everywhere enjoying the groundbreaking park.