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CBC, MAY 2019

Casino not among options Ford government wants for Ontario Place!

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Strong Support from Tourism Toronto

Tourism Toronto has released a Tourism Test that it says should guide any future redevelopment of Ontario Place. The test has six elements, that Tourism Toronto says are key to developing an exceptional visitor experience.

  • An iconic new landmark
  • Year-round destination
  • Embrace the waterfront
  • Retain heritage elements.
  • Multi-modal access.
  • Jointly planned with Exhibition Place

Ontario Place is clearly one of the most important opportunities in Toronto to create something truly new and compelling that will attract new visitors from around the world,” says Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Development at Tourism Toronto. “The Government of Ontario has begun a process to seek ideas for Ontario Place’s future and we are bringing a tourism lens and expertise to that discussion.”  

Overwhelming Support from Toronto City Council

Last week, Toronto City Council unanimously endorsed the fight to keep Ontario Place as a publicly accessible jewel on Toronto’s waterfront. Every Councillor at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting supported a motion by Mayor John Tory that established a strong City policy on the proposed revitalization of Ontario Place.
The good news is the City’s policy aligns with the principles adopted by Ontario Place for All. It calls for the City and the province to:
  • restore the purpose of Ontario Place as a showcase and destination for Ontario;
  • enhance public access to the full-length of the Ontario Place shoreline, and protect its natural heritage features;
  • develop a mix of non-residential uses and activities that reflect its waterfront location;
  • include Ontario Place on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register;
  • link Ontario Place with Exhibition Place in order to realize the natural synergies between the two sites;
  • consult with Indigenous peoples, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation; and
  • improve transit access to, from and between Ontario Place and Exhibition Place.
Most importantly, Mayor Tory argued that any decision by the Ontario government has to be done through a fully-transparent public process, that is responsive to the broader community. “I am really hopeful that the province will, in a genuine way, adopt a different approach that what has been done in the budget. That was unilateral, that was retroactive, it was done without consultation.
The Councillor for Spadina-Fort York, Joe Cressy, was key to developing the City’s position on Ontario Place and ensuring the unanimous support of his fellow councillors.“If you want to reimagine Ontario Place, it has to be led by and driven by clear principles based on public policy and public interest. We have been proactive in articulating a series of principles related to public access, connection to the waterfront, heritage preservation, expansion of parkland, arts and culture with year-round animation… I have been blown away at the thousands of Torontonians and Ontarians who have responded on his, from the Ontario Place for All organizing group, just ordinary residents who come out to town halls.
The City’s move supporting an accessible future for Ontario Place has already had an impact. Infrastructure Ontario was expected to release its expected Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) last week, giving developers direction as to what the Ontario government sees as the future of Ontario Place. But Ontario Place for All has learned that, under pressure from the Mayor’s Office, that REOI has been delayed until the end of the month.

Ontario Place for All would like to thank Mayor Tory, Councillor Cressy and City Council for their leadership and strong support for Ontario Place.

CityNews Toronto, MAY 2019

A proposal to move the Science Centre to Ontario Place. 

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Tourism Toronto, MAY 2019

Tourism Toronto is issuing a “Tourism Test” for Ontario Place. The test aims to ensure that the tourism opportunity is a central consideration as development options for Ontario Place are evaluated. 

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CBC, MAY 2019

Toronto city council votes to list Ontario Place on heritage property register. 

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CP24, MAY 2019

Mayor Tory asks for role in Ontario Place revamp. 

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CP24, MAY 2019

The future of Ontario Place is on the agenda at this week’s city council meeting. Councillors will vote on a recommendation to reach out to the Ontario government and request that the province and city “jointly plan” the future of Ontario Place. 

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Things are heating up at Ontario Place

Next week will see two pivotal events that could determine the future of Ontario Place, and whether it remains an Ontario Place that is for all of us. It could be a classic good news/bad news situation.

First, starting Tuesday, Toronto City Council will meet to decide its position on the province’s plans to redevelop the site. The first of two reports going to Council will propose the City work with Queen’s Park to develop a strategy to jointly plan the future of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place in a collaborative, co-operative and consultative manner with all stakeholders.

The second report lays out the guiding principles that City staff believe should govern the revitalization of Ontario Place.

Ontario Place for All fully supports the reports going to City Council. We believe they align fully with our principles and are the best way to ensure a future for Ontario Place that includes all of us. Joe Cressy, the City councillor for Spadina Fort-York deserves a lot of credit for making this happen.

More ominously, next Thursday, the Ontario Government is expected to release its Request for Expressions of Interest, a more detailed outline of what it wants to see at Ontario Place. This document will give developers broad guidelines on what they should propose for the 155-acre waterfront park.

Ontario Place for All is very concerned that this Request for Expressions of Interest is going to open up Ontario Place to widespread commercial development. The government’s promises to consult with stakeholders now appear hollow.

So next week the battle to preserve Ontario Place as a 21st Century Park will officially begin, and we need to rise to the challenge. While we been quietly organizing and preparing for this event over the winter, now is the time that Ontario Place for All needs your help.  

We are planning to hold a number of events this spring and this summer, to emphasize the widespread opposition to what the Government has said it is going to do, highlight the existing beauty and vitality of this dynamic waterfront park, and to show how any changes to Ontario Place can benefit all Ontarians, not just developers.

Events Committee Meeting

Ontario Place for All – Events Committee Meeting 

May 22, 2019 | 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Learn More
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