Advocates invite province to consider alternate plan for Ontario Place
Posted June 11, 2023 8:51 pm.
Last Updated June 11, 2023 8:52 pm.
A grassroots organization is hoping to change the conversations surrounding the future of Ontario place by creating an alternative plan they hope the Ford government will consider.
“We’ve come out with a vision that really links Ontario Place at one end of the Ontario Line, with the Ontario Science Centre at the other end of the Ontario Line,” said Ken Greenberg, Ontario Place for All steering committee member.
“It’d really be a missed opportunity if we suddenly filled it with private attractions, with steep paywalls, that have nothing to do with Ontario. ”
The plan from advocacy group Ontario Place for All would not include the proposed private, mega spa which is expected to be located on the West Island of Ontario Place. The province has signed a nearly century-long deal with luxury operator Therme Group for the creation of the multi-million-dollar new attraction.
Instead of a spa, some of the ideas the group wants the space to be used for is a renewed public park, and land bridge over Lakeshore Boulevard, connecting to Exhibition Place. They say these ideas could be done at a fraction of the current costs for the province’s revitalization plans.
The group also isn’t in favour of the Ford government’s choice to move the Ontario Science Centre currently located at the corner of Eglinton Avenue East and Don Mills Road. Instead, they are supporting the creation of a satellite branch.
“We understand that the people who run the Science Centre already had plans to create a satellite down here with the environmental focus that was suggested, and we think it’s a great idea,” said Greenberg.
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The province is already moving ahead with its plans. Fences are up on a portion of the area and a majority of the site will be closed off starting in 2024 to allow for more construction.
We reached out to the Ford government to get their take on this alternative proposal.
“Our government received a strong mandate to build Ontario, including our plan to revitalize Ontario Place. Backed by strong public consultation at the provincial and municipal levels, we will continue to work with the City of Toronto and stakeholders to get the project done,” said Andrea Chiappetta, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Infrastructure in a statement.
Advocates say they will continue to bring these ideas forward in hopes of sparking meaningful dialogue with the province.
“We would like to think that with enough goodwill, and with people on all sides seeing that we call our vision a better idea,” said Greenberg. “That there is a better idea that costs much less that gives the public much more.”
Public consultations on the future of Ontario Place were held in April. The office for Coun. Ausma Malik, who represents Spadina–Fort York where Ontario Place is located, confirms to CityNews that a public update on the status of the lakefront property will happen on June 20 and that details will be shared this week.