Provincial government ordered to halt demolition at Ontario Place

On July 10, 2024, the Ontario government agreed to halt demolition pending the results of Ontario Place Protectors (OPP)'s challenge to the Rebuilding Ontario Place Act on July 19.

Photo credit: Steven Evans

The Ontario Government has agreed to stop demolition at Ontario Place, pending the hearing of Ontario Place Protectors (OPP)’s Application to the Superior Court of Ontario on July 19, 2024. The Ontario government had begun demolition at the West Island on Saturday, June 23, 2024, beginning early preparations for the recreational facility by private developer Therme.

According to OPP, Ontario agrees to the following until 6:00 p.m. on July 19, 2024, with respect to the work at Ontario Place:

The OPP noted that Ontario agrees to not cause or permit any permanent destruction of any trees, shrubs or buildings at Ontario Place.

Additionally, it noted that if unforeseen circumstances require that the work described above, such as to prevent a serious risk of harm to any person’s health, Ontario will make best efforts to provide advance notice to the Applicant and the Court.

Last month, Ontario Place Protectors (OPP) announced it was seeking an injunction in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to stop the demolition at Ontario Place that began on the site’s West Island on June 23.

The work began under the authority of the “Rebuilding Ontario Place Act” (ROPA)—despite the Act being challenged in court by OPP, and awaiting a trial date, which is now set for July 19.

According to OPP, the grounds for the challenge are that the Act is “unlawful, a breach of public trust, and unconstitutional.”

ROPA exempts the government from adhering to the Ontario Heritage Act and the Environmental Protection Act.

OPP noted that ROPA allows the government to ignore Ontario’s Growth Plan, the Environmental Bill of Rights, and the Provincial Policy Statement.

It also noted that ROPA allows the government to destroy “an internationally lauded cultural landscape,” which includes both buildings at Ontario Place and its integrated landscape.

Additionally, ROPA exempts Ford and his government from any liability for acts of bad faith, misfeasance, or failure to meet any fiduciary obligations.

OPP noted that all this is being done to build a spa and that there has been little public consultation and no transparency.