The search is on for Ontario Place development ideas and it doesn’t include casinos or condos.
In a press conference on Tuesday morning, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Tibollo, said the Ontario government was looking to international partners for help redeveloping the 48-year-old property.
The Ford government has long alluded to a revamp of Ontario Place. In September 2018, Ford and then Tourism Minister Sylvia Jones initially hinted at plans to transform the site. Then, in January 2019, the Ford government launched a website seeking proposals from international developers.
At the time, Tibollo said the vision for Ontario Place was that of an “impressive attraction that could include exciting sport and entertainment landmarks, public parks or shopping.”
The vague announcement caused a flurry of concern with Torontonians having flashbacks of Ford’s Toronto Waterfront proposals, which included a casino and mega-mall.
This time around, Tibollo is squashing those fears.
“I want to be clear: our vision for Ontario Place does not include residential developments or casinos,” Tibollo said. “Once again, I want to repeat that: our vision will not have casinos or condos included as part of the Ontario Place site.”
The minister said the government will instead “consider a broad range of ideas from sport and entertainment landmarks to public spaces and parks, recreational facilities and retail.” So, a mega-mall could still be in the cards.
Tibollo thanked everyone for the hundreds of early submissions sent in for consideration and reminded everyone that the proposals will continue to be reviewed and accepted until Sept. 3.
Ontario Place opened in May 1971 but closed in 2012 amid a drastic drop in attendance and tighter provincial finances. In July 2017, the Wynne government invested $30 million into a partial renovation of Ontario Place, which included Trillium Park.