Let’s Keep Ontario Place in the Public Interest

International Parks Expert Supports Ontario Place for All

John Alschuler, chair of HR&A Associates told more than 60 supporters of Ontario Place for All at a fundraiser last week that the Ontario Government was going in totally the wrong direction by opening up Ontario Place to private developers.

Ontario Place for All Needs Your Help to Commission a Full Report to Get this Message Across – Please Consider a Donation.

We want to have HR&A Associates research the economic and social benefits that will come from keeping Ontario Place as a public park. We would send this ground-breaking report to the Premier and to Toronto’s mayor so that facts not rhetoric will prevail in the debate over the future of this waterfront jewel. So please donate. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get things right at Ontario Place. Your contribution will have an impact for years to come.

Here is the core message that John Alschuler gave supporters last week:

“The current efforts to create a private development model for the future of
Ontario Place rests on fundamentally ill-conceived and outmoded models of
urban economics. It is neither in the best interests of your community, as a civic
gesture, as a community gesture, and it’s fundamentally irrational as an
economic strategy.”

Alschuler has a lot of experience in building 21st century parks. HR&A Associates has helped develop some of the most innovative parks in North America, including:

  • The High Line, New York City
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City
  • Dallas Park System, Dallas Texas
  • Capital Riverfront, Washington

Alschuler used the High Line, a 2.33 km elevated linear park on the west side of Manhattan built on an abandoned railway spur, as an example of what governments can do when they invest in public spaces.

“In New York, we spent 300 million dollars to develop High-Line Park. It’s generated 3 billion dollars in incremental tax value to the City.”

Alschuler says investing in public parks creates not just more economic benefits than private development. It also creates better cities, which attract talent, something that cities around the world are competing for. And it helps create social cohesion.

“We are cities that are struggling to try to grow in ways that are more equitable. And Increasingly our neighbourhoods are stratified by income, and too often by race, and we become fragmented as a community. And if we are to continue to grow, and attract that talent from around the world, we have to have places that are devoted to breaking down that fragmentation, to breaking down that stratification.”

Alschuler’s Visit Made a Splash in the Media

Both the CBC and the Globe and Mail gave some prominence to what Alschuler had to say about the future of Ontario Place. Matt Galloway spoke to him Matt Galloway spoke to him on Metro Morning, the morning of his visit. Matt said there is growing momentum to preserve Ontario Place as a public space.

The Globe and Mail’s architectural critic, Alex Bozikovic followed that up with a column on July 10th. Bozikovic praised Alschuler’s ideas and referred to Ontario Place for All as a new citizens’ group trying to stop the privatization of the waterfront provincial park in Toronto.

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Show us Your Ontario Place

Now is the time when Ontario Place is at its best, when thousands go down there to eat, sail ride and see movies at Cinesphere. What are your favourite things to do at Ontario Place? 

Post the photos of you and your family enjoying Ontario Place on our Facebook Page.

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