Ontario Place for All proposes new way to approach revitalization of Ontario Place

Courtesy the Future of Ontario Place Project Cinesphere pods and lagoon from the west

Ontario Place for All has recently released a proposal, called “A Better Idea,” centered on a new way to approach the revitalization of Ontario Place.

Ontario Place for All is a grassroots organization that wants to ensure the redevelopment of Ontario Place remains publicly accessible, and is based on public rather than commercial interests.

The new proposal leverages the Ontario Line at both ends, and connects the natural features of the Don River Valley and Lake Ontario. It revitalizes Ontario Place to the south, and enhances and expands the mandate of the Science Centre to the north, while building affordable housing on Don Mills Road.

Photo credit: Ontario Place for All

“We wanted to put forward an alternative idea that would work for everyone,” said Ken Greenberg, Ontario Place for All steering committee member.

“It’s clear that the current proposal is a bad idea. Instead of just saying no, we wanted to spark a dialogue about what is possible for our waterfront. We believe this is a Better Idea that would protect and revitalize our shared assets of Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre.”

The proposal preserves the architectural history and revitalizes these buildings while also investing in green space. “A Better Idea” includes a lakeside Science Centre experience, a satellite of the existing Science Centre at Ontario place focused on water, the natural environment, climate change, doing real science and education.

Instead of becoming a glass-enclosed MegaSpa, the West Island would be a park with improved connections to the Exhibition and the new Ontario Line and improved trails and access to nature.

Photo credit: Ontario Place for All

The plan, which would be cheaper for Ontario taxpayers, leverages the existing mature tree canopy. The transformed public waterfront park can be achieved at significantly less cost, estimated at approximately $70 million as opposed to the current estimates of $650 million for the new underwater parking garage and site remediation.

“We want to get people thinking about what we as Ontarians want for our future and our kids’ future,” said Norm Di Pasquale, co-chair of Ontario Place for All. “We can do better and invite the Province, CIty, and Ontarians to talk about what would work for everyone.”

Photo credit: Ontario Place for All

Multiple cities across North America have been investing in green spaces and reclaiming waterfronts for public use as the investments have long-term rewards.

The MegaSpa would benefit foreign owners, and the Province of Ontario has signed an unprecedented 95-year lease with an unproven group, according to Ontario Place for All.