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Progress on the Revitalization of Ontario Place

Archived Backgrounder

Progress on the Revitalization of Ontario Place

Ontario is making progress to transform Ontario Place into a year-round, multi-use waterfront destination and urban public park.

Revitalization and its 18 recommendations.


First Step to Revitalization 

The urban park and waterfront trail marks the first step of revitalization and delivers a key part of the new vision for Ontario Place. 

The due diligence and market sounding work completed to date provided the government  with in- depth information about the site, including the proposed area for the park and trail on the east island.

The location for the park takes into consideration the limitations on development for this portion of the Ontario Place site; for example, the height restrictions related to the proximity of the Toronto Island Airport.

Through online public consultations, green space with access to the waterfront was among the top three priorities identified for a new Ontario Place. The other two priorities were for the site to be family-oriented and accessible to the public.

Laying the Groundwork

Ontario Place was built on landfill more than 40 years ago. Since that time, environmental requirements, infrastructure technology and construction standards have evolved. In order to understand the challenges and opportunities of the site, the government is undertaking exploratory work, which started in September 2012. This work includes:  

  • Investigating the site infrastructure to determine the conditions and capacity of sanitary sewers, water mains, stormwater management and electrical systems
  • Investigating the geotechnical and environmental conditions to find out what can be built and what work may be required to prepare the site for development
  • Conducting a cultural heritage evaluation of the current structures and landscape
  • Assessing the conditions of the buildings to get a sense of repair requirements and potential costs

Talking to Partners and the Private Sector

The Minister's Advisory Panel's report recommended exploring potential partnerships. A number of conversations are taking place, including: 

  • Listening to ideas that Ontarians are discussing in public forums, and meeting with learning institutions and students to gauge their thoughts on a new vision 
  • Discussions with the City of Toronto on ways to collaborate with Exhibition Place in areas such as joint master planning, transportation planning and shared access
  • Market sounding with leading investors, thought leaders, urban planners and cultural institutions on their perceptions on possible development opportunities


Next Steps

The government is taking what it has learned about the site since last fall to put together long-term development scenarios that align with the Minister's Advisory Panel report and recommendations.

Revitalization scenarios will explore a range of options and potential uses, as well as follow the design and development principles outlined in the Minister's Advisory Panel report, such as:

  • Creating easy public access
  • Being flexible and having the ability to adapt to change ensuring the revitalized Ontario Place
  • Enhancing the natural beauty of the surroundings

Quick Facts

  •  The province is aiming to open the urban park and waterfront trail in time for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
  •  Building the park and trail is the first step of revitalization and delivers on an important part of the new vision for Ontario Place — to create a public park and easy public access to the waterfront.
  •  In July, Infrastructure Ontario will launch a competitive procurement process to select a landscape architect to design the urban park and waterfront trail.

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