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Ontario Place redevelopment could include urban park

A parking lot could soon be turned into an urban trail and public park as the redevelopment of Ontario Place continues.

LANDinc design firm, whose projects include Tommy Thompson Park, and West 8 landscape architects, unveiled the preliminary design at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) late Wednesday night.

They are planning to turn approximately 3 hectares of the east island into a “vibrant” urban park and waterfront trail.

“The government’s new vision for Ontario Place is a year-round, multi-use, waterfront destination with an urban park for everyone to enjoy,” Ministry of Tourism spokeswoman Morah Fenning said at the MTCC.

The park will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There won’t be much playground equipment — instead, it will be mostly green space, with natural features like boulders and trees.

Last year, the Ontario government said the park and trail will connect to the 780-kilometre waterfront trail system from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Cornwall.

The government wants to open the urban park and waterfront trail in time for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Ontario Place opened in May 1971, but was closed in the summer of 2012 due to dwindling tourists and a lack of funds as it struggled to rein in a $15-billion deficit.