The latest casino proposal hitting Toronto is a massive one. MGM Resorts and Cadillac Fairview have unveiled their proposal to build an "integrated resort" complex on the CNE grounds at Exhibition Place. An "integrated resort" represents many of the things you would find at a regular casino including the gaming floor, enhanced entertainment facilities, a 15 to 20 storey hotel, and a new retail complex. The proposal covers a huge amount of land on the Exhibition Grounds with a large L-shaped building between BMO Field, and the Direct Energy Centre. 

Exhibition Place casino proposalOverhead watercolour rendering of proposed Exhibition Place Casino

In addition to the main casino building, there are many dramatic differences proposed to the current set up at Exhibition Place. The CNE grounds would be moved to the former Ontario Place parking lot, Martin Goodman Trail would be moved closer to the waterfront, the Molson Ampitheatre would be converted into a year round facility, and a second level of convention space would be added to The Direct Energy Centre. There would also be a new west bridge connecting Ontario Place's west island to the mainland, and a new 10,000 spot underground parking garage on site. MGM plans to have a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil at the new site. They have also partenered with Toronto restaurateur Mark McEwan to bring new dining experiences to the facility. 

Exhibition Place casino proposalSecond overhead view of the proposed redevelopment

A grand total of between 2 and 4 billion dollars of investment would be used to make all of these changes happen. MGM promises that there would be millions of new tourists and huge amounts of money coming back to the city. Some of these numbers have come under scrutiny by casino critics. The casino debate is one that has engulfed the populace and Toronto City Council ever since the OLG released its intentions to expand into the GTA. Both sides of the debate have impassioned supporters. Mayor Ford is a supporter of a Toronto Casino, especially at Exhibition Place, while many others on City Council are against the idea. Brian Ashton, the president of the board that runs the EX, has lobbied against the Exhibition Place Casino, citing that it would spell danger for the longevity of the CNE. Controversy also surrounds today's unveiling of the plan, where only select City Councillors were invited, and photos of the model were prohibited. We do not know what architects have been hired to design the proposal.

Exhibition Place casino proposalProposed relocation of the CNE grounds

This is the second major casino proposal in Toronto in recent weeks. This more sprawled-out proposal sits in stark contrast to the Oxford proposal Downtown. If you would like to know more about this project or see more renderings, visit our dataBase page below, or choose the associated Forum thread link to get in on the discussion.