Ontario Place for All releases framework for keeping iconic park public

Ontario Place for All is calling on the government to use their framework for a reimagined Ontario Place, produced in conjunction with HR&A Associates, as a foundation to keep the waterfront park public.

Ontario Place Cinesphere; Photo: Raysonho via Wikimedia Commons

The community advocacy group says the Ontario Government now has a chance to “start over with its plans to remake Toronto’s waterfront.”

The report, Ontario Place, The Value of Toronto’s Public Space, argues that the government’s focus on the private sector redevelopment of Ontario Place delivers only short-term profits at the cost of longer-term benefits.

Ontario Place for All says that since the process for selecting the winning redevelopment proposal has been delayed, the government should use the opportunity to rethink its approach to the idea.

“When compared to public use spaces, commercial uses will typically create short-term improvements but at the expense of long-term enduring benefits,” says the report.

Ontario Place, The Value of Toronto’s Public Space states that public spaces create stable neighbourhoods, increasing social interaction between different groups and increasing residents’ sense of belonging.

The report additionally says City’s public spaces are a key reason companies and workers locate in Toronto. “Local amenities are particularly important for employees in the knowledge economy sector.” They increase the attractiveness of working in Toronto by 33 per cent, according to the report.

Ontario Place for All suggests that the government should take a more comprehensive approach to reimagining the lakefront site, starting with a robust consultation process.

Ontario Place for All also believes there could be an international competition to come up with a new plan for Ontario Place, as was done for Toronto’s City Hall.