Renderings released for Ontario Place Revitalization Project
Therme, Diamond Schmitt, and the Government of Ontario reveal additional details about their design for the landmark waterfront destination.
The Ontario government, Therme Group, and Diamond Schmitt have released renderings of their vision for the revitalization of the waterfront property. Therme Group, working with architects Diamond Schmitt, is one of three companies selected by the Ford government to redevelop Ontario Place as a recreational park.
Under the government’s plan, Live Nation Entertainment will redevelop the amphitheatre into a year-round venue with an expanded outdoor and indoor audience capacity. Therme Group is working with architecture firm Diamond Schmitt on plans for building an all-season park with indoor and outdoor pools, waterslides, a wave pool, sports services, botanical gardens, and a publicly accessible bridge, trails and beaches. Ecorecreo Group will build an adventure park with obstacle courses, ziplines, and rentals for canoes and kayaks.
The Province announced that it will be restoring and maintaining the Cinesphere and Pods, with Ontario Science Place operating these elements as a satellite location for its science-based exhibitions and programming.
The largest new component of the proposal is Therme Group’s facility, which will include four major elements spanning the West Island and mainland. Diamond Schmitt Architects is leading the design, with a team that includes landscape architecture firm STUDIOtla, Baird shoreline engineers, and civil engineers Arup.
“The design carries forward the original spirit of Ontario Place as a forward-looking and slightly utopian place,” says Gary McCluskie, principal at Diamond Schmitt. “It’s the next generation of applying that architecture-and-technology vision, and infusing it with optimism.”
“The future of Ontario Place will be defined by how successful it can be connecting people to the water,” says Dr. Robert Hanea, CEO of Therme Group. “Through our technology and by engaging the community, Therme and our partners will add a new architectural landmark that will play a role in bringing more people back to the waterfront capturing the original spirit of Ontario Place from 50 years ago.”
Therme and Diamond Schmitt’s plan for the West Island parcel, a site under 20 acres in size, includes eight acres of public spaces, including a beach and enhanced pedestrian and cycling access. A new bridge from the mainland to the West Island will support the extension and enhancement of the William G. Davis Trail across the site.
The new aspects of the facilities are comprised of four main components: a new entrance pavilion, a new bridge to the West Island, new parkland and beach areas, and the main Therme Canada | Ontario Place building. The Therme building transforms the West Island and is designed to combine the restorative environment of a botanical garden with the physical and sensory experience of an aquatic environment.
The entrance pavilion establishes a new public presence along Lake Shore Boulevard West with an open and welcoming form with three transparent vaults inspired by a trillium flower. The Therme Entrance Pavilion is a hub, an information and exhibition space with access to the West Island. A double-height, wood-lined entry hall defines the pavilion’s natural character. The Therme facility preserves and honours the heritage of the West Island site with a scale and spirit inspired by the neighbouring Ontario Place Pavilions and Cinesphere. The goal of supporting body and spirit with wellbeing in an egalitarian, welcoming environment is infused throughout the pavilion’s transparent and natural forms.
The new Therme Bridge connects the mainland to the West Island and provides all-season public access to the island park and a new public beach. The bridge integrates interior passage for Therme visitors and open access for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge cladding is glass and copper – connecting the entrance Pavilion to the main Therme building. The Therme Bridge also maintains boat access to the inner Ontario Place Marina, and the open space on the bridge offers improved vantage points for dragon boat racing and other waterway activities.
The planned design of the parklands and beach areas surround the Therme Canada | Ontario Place building and ensures year-round public waterfront access. The restorative value of outdoor green spaces for recreation, community gathering, and overall quality of life will be enriched with free, public swimming areas; a new significantly expanded beach area; improved access to the lake edge, beach, wetlands; and an extension of the William G Davis trail across the entire site, accessible to all.
The exterior envelope of the main Therme Canada | Ontario Place building is clad in energy-efficient, triple-layer bird-friendly glass on a steel structure, building on the tradition of public botanical greenhouses and glazed exhibition halls. The curvilinear roof is formed by a series of layers. Visitors arrive at a belvedere overlooking the aquatic halls, which house the botanical gardens and pools. The building program is distributed over multiple levels, with the largest spaces located on the ground floor. The interior and exterior experiences are woven together throughout the levels of the building. The glass greenhouse architecture supports the integration of landscape inside the building with indoor pools and a transparent envelope allowing vistas of Lake Ontario and abundant daylight for the planted interior environment. A series of landscaped roofs extends the planted environment to the form. In summer, rooftop pools–adjustable by season–provide a transition between the exterior and interior.
Therme Group has established partnerships with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Toronto International Film Festival, and The Black North Initiative. “Therme looks forward to engaging directly with residents and civic leaders to present its proven model of wellbeing experiences providing multiple opportunities for dialogue,” writes the company. It says that Therme Canada will create over 2,200 construction jobs, 800 full-time permanent positions, and the ability to accommodate up to 3 million visitors to Ontario Place every year. It estimates its current investment to be $350 million.