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Ontario Place for All Summer Update

Ontario Place for All Summer Update

  • Walk and talk Ontario Place – Sunday, September 11th
  • Provincial plans squeeze out the public
  • Therme erases Ontario Place’s iconic design
  • Should the future of Ontario Place be a municipal campaign issue?

Mark your calendar!!! Sunday, September 11th, walk and talk with:

Journalist/Urbanists John Lorinc and Shawn Micallef will be leading a walking discussion at Ontario Place on Sunday, Sept 11th at 10 am.

They have both called for the future of Ontario Place to become an issue in this fall’s municipal election campaign issue.  What do you think?  Come, join the discussion and pick up an Ontario Place for All pin.  Meet at the East Entrance to Trillium Park, light rain or shine.

This just in: Écorécréo backing out of Ontario Place proposal

The Globe & Mail reports that Écorécréo, the Québec-based adventure tourism company, is pulling out of its tentative deal at Ontario Place. No plans have been announced by the province in response to the departure, but it opens the opportunity for supporters to press for more public open space and parkland to be provided at Ontario Place.

Major concerns as the OP Public Realm Plan debuts at the Waterfront Design Review Panel

The Province has released its draft plan for the public areas under redevelopment at Ontario Place. And our biggest fear has come true: after taking away the parts that are being given to Therme, Live Nation and Écorécréo, there is very little left for the public.  

Look closely: in the draft presentation, only the areas outside of the red line will be open to the public.  Aside from Trillium Park, most of what is left are parking lots and the paved event space – little of which is slated to change. (WDRP presentation and meeting video – OP starts at 1:56). 

Shawn Micallef, Toronto Star contributing columnist calls design of the Therme development, “a generational Mistake.”

Therme’s spa is poised to destroy core cultural heritage attributes of Ontario Place. 

Recently released designs show the spa will obliterate the visual and functional relationship between the iconic Cinesphere/Pods at Ontario Place and its natural environment. This technology/nature relationship is at the heart of the recognized cultural heritage of Ontario Place.

The West Island’s carefully designed topography will be destroyed; hundreds of mature trees are going to be cut down. 

Ontario Place’s foundational theme of equity and inclusion has been done away with. Those who cannot pay spa fees will be confined to the outside edge of the island. Therme will even control the west entrance and plans to replace the Ontario Place branding with its own. Ontario Place will be open for business, but not for most people. 

Therme’s rendering of the West Entrance and spa facility – WDRP presentation July 27, 2022

Torontonians need to make the future of Ontario Place a municipal election issue!

Our municipal politicians need to be tougher and come up with more creative ways to ensure that Ontario Place remains a lakeside attraction for everyone. 

Toronto residents have expressed their anger about the plans for Ontario Place, but the provincial government has refused to listen. It is now time to challenge the candidates for Mayor and Council during the current municipal campaign to find a better solution – one that the Province can accept. 

One suggestion has been to move the Therme development to a more suitable location in Toronto, such as nearby Exhibition Place.  Let’s push for those wanting our vote to do just that. 

Ontario Place was conceived as a public park and attraction that would reclaim and democratize access to the waterfront and celebrate Ontario’s identity, culture and economic vitality.  

The Province’s plans completely undermine that legacy.  We should be telling our municipal candidates for Mayor and Council that Ontario Place must remain a resource for everyone.  

What the Media and commentators have to say:

Le Devoir, NOV. 2021

Quebec interests at the heart of the debate on the future of Ontario’s Place (article in French)

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Call to Action for Ontario Place

Put Ontario Back in Ontario Place

The Government says it has a new vision for Ontario Place, but what is it?  Giving pieces of Ontario Place to three businesses who will charge people for pay-to-play entertainment does not amount to a vision!

If you share our concern about this, here are some things you can do:

  1. Register here for a Public Information Session on October 27th at 6:30 pm
  2. Click here to fill out the province’s survey. The survey closes October 28th – but note the comments below about this survey
  3. Forward this email to your network all over Ontario.

A Big Caution about the Survey

The Government’s survey is full of leading questions designed to limit your ability to respond frankly and sincerely. The government has not yet committed to making the results of the questionnaire public. 

The questions are written in a way to force respondents to accept the government’s development decisions. It is mandatory to answer all questions. Only three questions have a box where you can provide your own comments.  We suggest you use those boxes to enter your concerns.  Here are some suggestions: 

Question 2 talks about Ontario’s vision and plan for Ontario Place. 

  • In the comment box you can point out that this is not Ontario’s vision.  It’s a “plan” created for commercial interests without public consultation.

Question 3 says open spaces with free public access will be key to the site. Of course, it does not tell you that most of the site will be privatized.

  • You can use the comment box to say that all of Ontario Place should be accessible and affordable for everyone. That was the original vision. More than ever, we need that vision today. 

Question 4b asks which heritage features are important for you. You cannot say they all are.

  • Again, use the comment box to say something like “Ranking heritage features is like asking us to pick which finger we are willing to lose. They are all important and work together.”

Take a few minutes to fill out the survey and register for the Public Information Session.

Your voice counts!

Pine Trees not Palm Trees at Ontario Place

Pine Trees not Palm Trees at Ontario Place

Ontario Place for All says the government’s plans for Ontario Place are a total insult to the memory of former Premier William Davis, who opened the lakeside park fifty years ago this summer. 

Spokesperson Cynthia Wilkey says when the Ford government first announced its plans to redevelop Ontario Place, Davis said, “It would be a shame and a disservice if commercial gain replaced the public interest on the present site of Ontario Place.” Wilkey says that is exactly what the Ford government has done.

“The public has clearly identified the post-COVID need for more open and accessible parkland, but the Ontario government is instead turning two-thirds of Ontario Place over to commercial interests.”

Ontario Place for All says the plans of the three winning companies, Therme Group, Live Nation, and Écorécréo Group, desecrate the original vision of Ontario Place.

“It was supposed to celebrate Ontario,” says spokesperson Suzanne Kavanagh. “But under the current proposals, we are getting a spa with palm trees, instead of pine trees. There’s also no word on how they are going to preserve the award-winning landscape at Ontario Place. How does this celebrate Ontario?” asks Kavanagh.

Another member of the Ontario Place for All coalition says the government is treating the current facilities, such as the Cinesphere and the Pods, as orphans.

“There is no Conservation Management Plan,” says planner Ken Greenberg, “and no indication about how the new facilities are going to be integrated into what is already at Ontario Place.”

Ontario Place for All says supporters need to get ready for a new and critically important phase of the battle to save the lakeside park. It begins on September 6, Labour Day, with a World Monuments Fund “Watch Day” at Ontario Place sponsored by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and The Future of Ontario Place project. Visitors and supporters will be invited to explore Ontario Place and participate in a scavenger hunt and match drawing of Ontario Place with their memories and hopes for its future. More details can be found at

Canadian Architect, AUG. 2021

Renderings released for Ontario Place Revitalization Project.

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Toronto Star, AUG. 2021

Ford’s proposed redevelopment plan for Ontario Place won’t fail — because it’s not going to happen.

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Toronto Star, AUG. 2021

Doug Ford can add wrecking Ontario Place to his list of accomplishments.

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Toronto Star, AUG. 2021

A public process could have led to something spectacular — instead, Doug Ford’s new Ontario Place just offers more of the same.

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Toronto Star, AUG. 2021

Ford has few opportunities left to give the public a say over Ontario Place redevelopment

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The Globe and Mail, JULY 2021

Ontario Place should be turned into a park, while still maintaining its architectural legacy.

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