Progress on the Revitalization of Ontario Place
In August 2012, the province endorsed the Minister's Advisory Panel report on Ontario Place Revitalization and its 18 recommendations. The province is making significant progress on fulfilling many of those recommendations, keeping with the design and development principles informed by the report:
- Any development will respect and enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings and protect sightlines to the water.
- A revitalized Ontario Place will create easy public access to the waterfront and restore a landscape culturally specific to the province and its waterfront.
- Ontario Place will be an accessible place for Ontarians of all ages.
As a first step to revitalization, the province is moving ahead with an urban park and waterfront trail on the east island of the site.
Laying the Groundwork
Ontario Place was built on fill over 40 years ago. Since that time, environmental requirements, infrastructure technology and construction standards have evolved. To understand the challenges and opportunities of the site, the province undertook exploratory work which started in September 2012. This work included:
- 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.
- Examining the site infrastructure to determine the conditions and capacity of sanitary sewers, water mains, storm water management and electrical systems.
- Assessing the conditions of the buildings to get a sense of repair requirements.
The province has also taken important steps to ensure that any new elements developed on the site will consider the cultural heritage value of Ontario Place and respect the original innovative architecture and landscape.
As part of revitalization, the province conducted a heritage evaluation of the site and determined that Ontario Place is a cultural heritage landscape of provincial significance.
The province has also added Ontario Place Corporation to the list of prescribed public bodies under the Ontario Heritage Act. This means that the province will be responsible for heritage protection on the property, including the development of a strategic conservation plan to help inform and guide revitalization plans.
Talking to Partners
The Minister's Advisory Panel report recommended exploring potential partnerships. Input from various stakeholders has helped inform plans for the site and will continue as the province moves forward with revitalization, including:
- Working with the City of Toronto to find ways to collaborate with Exhibition Place.
- Market sounding with leading investors, urban planners and cultural institutions on their perceptions of possible development opportunities.
- Listening to ideas that Ontarians are discussing in public forums, and meeting with learning institutions and students to gauge their thoughts on revitalization.
- Consulting with the public and stakeholders on the urban park and waterfront trail, which helped identify a number of key priorities for the broader Ontario Place vision.
Next Steps -- Integrated Environmental Assessment and Land-Use Planning Process
The start of an integrated environmental assessment (EA) and land-use planning process is the next phase in the revitalization project.
There are a number of steps in the integrated process, including consulting with the public and stakeholders on potential social, economic and environmental impacts of the project, as well as seeking feedback on design and development objectives.