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Ontario Place to reopen to public by 2016 with new park, promenade

The first phase of Ontario Place’s redevelopment will not open in time for the July 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games as previously hoped.

The first phase of the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the defunct site — a three hectare park and waterfront trail — will open to the public as early as 2016, Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Coteau announced at a news conference Thursday.

Beyond the plans for parks and trails, the minister affirmed the government’s commitment to plans announced by Kathleen Wynne during her re-election campaign, including a live music venue and a waterfront canal district with stores and restaurants.

The music venue will “amplify the long lasting legacy of Ontario Place, which is live music,” Coteau said.

The government has also promised to bar condominiums or other residential development on the site.

Coteau said plans for further redevelopment will move forward as fast as they can, but he did not offer any timelines.

There is also no word on when then theme park portion of the lands will reopen.

The Liberal government has committed $100-million to the pre-development phase of the revitalization, such as the environmental assessments.

It will look to corporate partners, private donors and investors to help fund the music venue and other projects.

“It’s important we find the right types of partners to develop the site,” Coteau said.

The Cinesphere and pod buildings will be integrated into the redevelopment in an effort to preserve the heritage of the site.

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.

With files from The Canadian Press