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Ontario Construction News staff writer
Three companies will lead the redevelopment of Ontario Place, retaining the Cinesphere, iconic pods, marina, Trillium Park and the William G. Davis Trail.
The redevelopment is expected to create over 3,600 construction jobs and staff positions once the attractions open to the public, with approximately five million visitors expected annually. It’s a unique waterfront site, made up of approximately 155 acres of land and water, and served as an iconic cultural and tourism destination for all Ontarians between 1971 and 2012.
Details were released last week about the three new major attractions:
Therme Group is building Therme Canada | Ontario Place, a family-friendly, all-season destination offering something for all ages, including pools, waterslides, botanical spaces to relax, as well as sports performance and recovery services. Outside, people will enjoy more than eight acres of free, publicly accessible gathering spaces, parkland, gardens and beaches.
“Working with our partners and stakeholders, we are excited to be playing a part in the future of Ontario Place and opening up new opportunities for people to connect with the waterfront. We chose Toronto to be our launching point in North America because of the unique culture and vision of the city and Ontario Place, and we are committed to carrying on its legacy with renewed family entertainment, public parks, and well-being and cultural programming,” said Robert Hanea, CEO, Therme Group.
Live Nation is redeveloping the existing amphitheatre into a modern, year-round indoor-outdoor live music and performance venue that will attract world-class artists and events. Protecting the iconic amphitheatre lawns, the new venue will have an expanded capacity of 20,000 in the summer and close to 9,000 in the winter, offering a unique indoor-outdoor experience with operable exterior walls to accommodate events, rain or shine.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be growing the amphitheatre into a year-round venue that will bring even more opportunity for fans to experience world class live music on the lakeshore. We look forward to continue working with the Ontario government around the redevelopment of Budweiser Stage,” said Riley O’Connor, chairman, Live Nation Canada.
Écorécréo Group is building an affordable, all-season adventure park for all ages. This new, environmentally friendly attraction will include aerial obstacle courses, net-based aerial adventures, ziplines, climbing walls, escape rooms and many other activities. Écorécréo Group will also operate Segway, quad-cycle, canoe and kayak rentals at the site.
“As a Canadian-based organization, our team is honoured to have been chosen to contribute to the redevelopment of one of Ontario’s most iconic destinations. We are excited to bring an innovative, themed adventure park to Ontario Place – one that creates a magical atmosphere, while offering immersive, family-friendly outdoor activities for all ages,” said Jean-Philippe Duchesneau, co-owner, Écorécréo Group.
Premier Doug Ford says potential development partners were assessed in four categories: alignment with the government’s vision of a world-class, year-round destination; concept viability; delivery certainty; and costs and benefits to the province, as well as public feedback and input provided through consultations conducted by previous governments. This process was designed and facilitated by Infrastructure Ontario and its advisors (KPMG and Colliers).
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Ontario Place this year, there is no better time to bring this iconic destination back to life,” Premier Doug Ford said at the announcement. “By taking this first step with our world-class development partners, as well as the City of Toronto and Indigenous communities, we will deliver a renewed Ontario Place that provides year-round entertainment for all ages and interests.”
Across the site, public spaces will be enhanced and brought up to modern standards with new parks, promenades, trails and beaches. Key heritage and recreational features of the site will be retained and integrated into the redevelopment, including the Cinesphere, the pod complex, the marina, Trillium Park and the William G. Davis Trail. The province will also work with the Ontario Science Centre to explore opportunities to have science-related tourism and educational programming at the Cinesphere and pod complex.
Mark Saunders, special advisor for Ontario Place, will work with the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities, project stakeholders, businesses and community groups that have interest in the site to ensure all perspectives on these important proposals are recognized and considered.
Starting this month, the government will launch the next phase of engagement with virtual public information sessions in the fall with planning and development consultations related to the site-wide environmental assessment, heritage, and site servicing to follow later in the year.