When it opened back in May 1971, Premier Bill Davis said that “The vision and scope of Ontario Place gives promise of our vast potential”. It is now time for this vision to be revisited and bring Ontario Place to new standards that reflect the evolution Toronto and its population have undergone more than 4 decades after the amusement park opened.

Ontario Place closed in 2012, and plans to revamp it have been advancing slowly since. Last year it was revealed that the first phase of this project would include a new urban park and waterfront trail on the east side of the site designed by LANDinc and West 8. This week Infrastructure Ontario (IO) contracted Urbacon to lead the project and announced that construction would begin shortly.

Ontario Place Urban Park and Waterfront Trail, LANDinc, West 8, Urbacon, TorontoPark Plan, Elements, Ontario Place Urban Park and Waterfront Trail

The new urban park and waterfront trail proposes the transformation of a 7.5 acre portion of the East Island, including what is now a parking lot, into a naturalized area that will be comprised of native trees and plants to refer to the landscapes of Ontario. The project will link to an expansive waterfront trail system that includes parts of the Trans-Canada Trail Ontario route and the Martin Goodman Trail, unlocking an area that was closed to the public for more than 40 years. Key elements of this park and trail include a garden to relax and take in the views of both the lake and the city and a rocky scramble offering a naturalized play area.

Ontario Place Urban Park and Waterfront Trail, LANDinc, West 8, Urbacon, TorontoBoardwalk, Ontario Place Urban Park and Waterfront Trail

Construction will occur on two stages. The first phase will be executed this winter and will consist of the removal of the existing parking lot, site preparation, shoreline repairs and underground infrastructure, while the second phase will include the construction of the park and its surface-level amenities. Set to open in the fall of 2016, this project aims to transform Ontario Place into a year-round, vibrant waterfront destination and is part of "the government's economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate", according to Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

Ontario Place Urban Park and Waterfront Trail, LANDinc, West 8, Urbacon, TorontoPark Summit, Ontario Place Urban Park and Waterfront Trail

We will return with more details on the Urban Park and Waterfront Trail as they continue to emerge. In the meantime, additional new renderings can be found in the dataBase file, linked below. If you want to get involved in the discussion, you can check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the section provided at the bottom of this page.