Toronto Ontario Place | ?m | ?s | Infrastructure ON

It was like... stuff about mining and agriculture, as I recall? It was - if we're being honest here - boring.
Like, "Hey, did you know Ontario produces more nickel than any other G20 nation??! Here is a piece of unprocessed nickel from Sudbury!" Stuff like that.

Agreed.

The Pods, also if we're being honest, never really had great uses. At one point there was a kind of science museum - I remember seeing the Canadarm and stuff like that

It was called 'Future Pod', and I did like that use, it was, in some small way like an OSC satellite, if far smaller and less curated etc.
 
I always liked the OSC - but the primary exhibit spaces in the valley is basically just an industrial warehouse. The interesting architecture is all in the lobby and the access halls ferrying passengers down the valley to the exhibit space.
 
Good photo array, and I take your point.

I now counter w/this:

The fall colours exterior view, which is interesting is almost never seen by anyone. Its relationship to any publicly accessible outdoor spaces is poor.

If you go by how it looks at the entrance, you definitely don't see what makes the building unique or interesting and that fall colours view certainly shows it at its best.
But when you're there and take those escalators to the valley floor, you do get a sense of it.

The interior shot you offer (right hand side) is also interesting, but is not a primary exhibit area of the building, but rather something of a leftover space; it's also a good illustration of the building not taking proper advantage of its surroundings.

I think the great hall (which played an airport on Station 11, which everyone should watch) is also a very unique Toronto place.
That interior shot above was kind of showing the side of it but this is is how it looked on TV :)
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It's not really a "leftover" space. It used to be the main temporary exhibition hall. I haven't been in a few years and maybe there isn't always an exhibition going on but I assume they still use it for that?

Anyway, I think we generally agree.
The West Island was always the most boring part of Ontario Place and both that site and the OSC need a major kick in the butt. There's no evidence this government understands the heirtage or importance of either site, except was a way to make some money and there's no real reason to trust them. Hopefully something will happen before we lose what we've still got.
 
I'm always fascinated by people's love of the OSC as a building.

As a kid, I always liked the escalator down to the bottom w/the view of the valley; the rest of the interior was essentially a black box at the bottom that makes no use whatsoever of its surroundings, you would be completely unaware you were in a valley but for that ride down.....and back at the top, an interior that straddles airport terminal and 1960's era banking hall.

The exterior is indisputably plain and of little interest on the south, north and west elevations.

The East Elevation seems to be what once captured people's imaginations (the front of the building); but to me, its best feature was the water feature out front, which was removed a generation ago; and moreover, even one were a fan of that front face of the building, which I admittedly never was........its been molested through the addition of the IMAX theatre and other alterations.

I'm really not sure what one might value in that building at this point, in its current form; assuming there was arguable value to it in an earlier iteration.

This is what one can see from just in to the site, of the building's principle elevation:

View attachment 468882

This is the closest I can get on Streetview;

View attachment 468883

I have to say, I'm not taken by the complex, where as I am by the Pods and Cinesphere down at OP.

I'm not saying we should rush to wreck the thing mind you.

Merely that the OSC is tired, its glory days are behind it; its been under funded both operationally at capitally for two generations.

So at the very least, it's due for a massive amount of renewal.

That being the case, I'm not sure why it wouldn't be fair game to consider shifting it to Ontario Place campus.

Sure, one would lose the valley context, but then again, its a context which is made very little use of.........

In the alternative, you could have the waterfront as context, and if so desired, you could take a portion of the OP site and make it 'natural', maybe a small wetland, and actually design it in an integrate way with the OSC as 'free' outdoor exhibit space. A boardwalk through the wetland; or a swamp, or maybe even a tree-top board walk, mid-height of the current mature trees.

What about a science-themed version of the old Children's Village; a 'learning playground'. I dunno, just a thought.
I do still have some good nostalgia with the older retro exhibits, many of which are now long-gone- who remembers the Old Science Hall (now reduced and mutilated), the old transportation exhibits with the tiny model railways and dissected steam locomotive (now back in the UK), or the rainforest (thankfully still there)? Unfortunately there needs to be significant investment into updating more of the exhibits, which I doubt will happen in the future...

But I agree with your points- without new quality exhibits, the Science Centre as an attraction is weakening, and the ravine and architecture itself are not much of a draw by themselves. Similarly, the surrounding neighbourhoods don't offer much of an attractions force multiplier (the Aga Khan museum is too far away to be comfortably walkable)- and in this regards, Ontario Place may actually be a stronger location, not unlike how the Montreal Science Centre is situated in their Old Port and contributes to the attractions hotspot that is Old Montreal.

I also agree with your point that a move like this can't be simply filling out spare space, and the presence of the Ontario Science Centre at Ontario Place needed to be the centrepiece from the start, not a hasty and cheap move into the Pods.

On a related note I think that the current OSC site would make a great site for a university. Isn’t the University of Guelph looking for a site in the GTA? I would love it to be a Toronto campus for McGill but I’m not holding my breath.
Not a bad idea, retaining an institutional use for the site makes a lot of sense- there are many spaces in the Ontario Science Centre that feel like they can be easily upcycled into an institutional context. Not sure if it would be suitable for McGill though, they'd probably want something nicer.
 
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Does anyone else remember the funhouse that was in one of the pods? It was kind of a glowy black-light mirror maze. It would have been there sometime around 1976 or so.

So. Doug Ford has announced the possibility of moving the Science Center to OP. I'm not thoroughly opposed, but my main worry is that he's going to try and put the Therme/Casino-thing there as well as OSC, using the OSC as the excuse for the gigantic CasinoTherme parking complex & etc. That has all the makings of a disaster.

My next concern would be planned uses of the OP grounds - would sections of them still be free, open park? Or would the whole thing be pay-to-enter?

The OP parking lots on the Ex side of the shoreline are ideal places for new structures to perk the place up and expand its possibilities without compromising the complex as a whole.
On a wee side note, this could also be an opportunity to finally build a new, magnificent planetarium for the city.

I have hugely fond memories of the OSC. Going down the escalators into the ravine, with the sound of birds cheeping being played was a sweet, lovely experience. The laser demonstration, ye olde static ball - fun stuff. I haven't been since the '70's, and the building was so impressive then. Not unlike Calgary Planetarium - futurism a-go-go! I loved the original building - yeah, it looks badly compromised. It's depressing to know it's been so badly kept through the years. I don't know the details of it's deterioration, but if the central section is basically sliding into the ravine, rebuilding sounds prohibitively expensive. It could be a site for an office campus or housing, but only if they had new architecture as complex and unorthodox as the OSC itself.

One thing's for sure: the whole situation just got more interesting.



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The Ontario Science Centre does not need to be moved to Ontario Place. It is fine where it is. Yes, it needs renovations, as does any building over time.

Once Line 5 opens, and the eventual appearance of the Ontario Line, there is no need for all that parking lot space. Just needs spaces for school buses. The rest of the parking lots should be converted into mixed-use development (retail, schools, parks, recreation, residential) with affordable housing.

Keep Ontario Place as an alternate attraction.
 
But to your closing point - it'd be different if this government had retained someone like Lord Cultural Resources to evaluate the two sites and they studied the architecture and the potential uses etc. etc. and concluded it made sense to amalgamate at one of the sites, thereby revitalizing both, and that Ontario Place should be the site. But no - this is coming from the guy who tried to do an end-around of City Council to allow developers to put up a ferris wheel and a mall and a hotel where you could park your boat on the portlands. So I don't think I'm being overly cynical to think there is no thought whatsoever here about the cultural significance of these sites. It's just about money. It's robbing from Peter to pay Paul and, at the end of the day, the sellling off of public resources to private interests.

But hey, I could be wrong!


Blast from the past from 2019- I wonder how much might be campaign napkin sketching and how much might be digging up old reports?
Perhaps the most passionate response came from Gail Lord, who heads a Toronto-based consulting firm that advises on museums and cultural centres around the world, notably science centrepieces that are conjoined with cultural centres.

Lord, it turns out, has twice researched the issue of revitalizing Ontario Place, and keeps landing on the Ontario Science Centre as a natural fit. If only the politicians would pay attention.

A 2009 government report on the province’s untapped tourism potential, assisted by Lord Cultural Resources, suggested the waterfront needs to “cluster” attractions that scale them up to a critical mass:

“A possible anchor attraction could include the Science Centre — a proven success in attracting a range of local visitors,” it argued. “Other attractions to be clustered around the Science Centres would offer creative programming. The whole precinct could be branded as a Science and Innovation Park.”

In an interview, Lord described the Science Centre as “probably our most successful cultural institution.” But she points to its splendid isolation near the Don Valley Parkway, far from the clusters that attract tourists in larger numbers.

The most ambitious alternatives for Ontario Place — like a windowless waterfront casino — are unproven and unpopular, compared to the sure thing we already have in hand.

“To bring in a new institution is very risky and very challenging. The great thing about the Science Centre is that it exists . . . but it would be even more successful at Ontario Place,” she told me.

“The big trend in the world is clustering of culture, education and entertainment — clustered on the water. This is where the world is going, and Toronto should be as advanced as the rest of the world.”

After 50 years, the Science Centre has accumulated significant deferred maintenance that is long overdue, “and everyone in government knows this.”

Her firm conducted a more recent study for the province that makes the case for relocation. But Infrastructure Ontario’s vice-president of communications, Alan Findlay refused to release it (Premier Doug Ford’s paeans to public transparency and open debate apparently haven’t penetrated).

Politicians need to let the public in on their private debates, at ground level. Yes, it’s about location, location, location; but it’s also about clusters, clusters, clusters.

Whatever we call it (it needn’t be Ontario Science Place, but it mustn’t be Ford Nation Place) its time has come. If we relocate it, and rename it, they will come.
 
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Ha, ok - so Lord did look into it a few years ago? Iorgot about that. Interesting stuff.

I'd be curious to see the more recent report but I guess that's why we're not likely to ever see it...
 
wow never thought that id be agreeing with Toronto Sun, You dont often see them actually making sense

What everyone in Toronto needs to remember is that it’s called Ontario Place and not Toronto Place or Fort York-Spadina Place. The strange desire by some to say there should be no private development projects at Ontario Place or nothing that requires admission is nothing but foolishness.

And I live in Fort York LOL
 
Having skimmed assorted media......

The announcement on the OSC relocation project is coming next week.

It sounds like it won't be definitive, but a process, but I can't be sure.

The Premier was asked about the existing site becoming housing and said he liked the idea, IF we decide to move it.

****

Bailao who the first mayor candidate to champion this idea, including housing at the existing OSC site.....(could someone named Kouvalis whose well connected to Ford have something to do with the commonalities?) ....has said
she wants to retain the existing OSC building as a 'community hub'.

One seriously big 'hub'..... LOL
 
wow never thought that id be agreeing with Toronto Sun, You dont often see them actually making sense



And I live in Fort York LOL

This article, written by a guy who literally should not be allowed to cover Queen's Park so long as his partner continues to be the Premier's coms director, working for a newspaper run by Rob Ford's former coms director, cannot be taken seriously.
I don't think anyone said there should be no private enterprise or development here - he even says in his article that eveyone knows the amphitheatre operates there now (as does Echo Beach).
What people don't want is a massive development that:
-takes up most of the site
-is priced and designed in such a way that it cuts off most of the site
-that dominates and fails to compliment the existing archiecture
-is subsidized by Provincial taxpayers and which pretends it's enhancing the public sphere on the few slivers that are left

He's also wrong that it was always paid admission to get in there and good for him googling the Science Centre admission fees, though I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China.

I won't go line by line but it's a pretty dumb article that doesn't make much sense, IMHO. But if you think that this article actually makes the case that publicly owned waterfront lant called "Ontario Place," should obviously be a spa/water park or enjoyed reading "Controversial project is actually a gift from Amazing and Handsome Ontario Premier" from the most compromised "journalist" currently on the beat, more power to you (especially if you live in Fort York and have avoided being part of the scary "Downtown NDP Base.")
 
Having skimmed assorted media......

The announcement on the OSC relocation project is coming next week.

It sounds like it won't be definitive, but a process, but I can't be sure.

The Premier was asked about the existing site becoming housing and said he liked the idea, IF we decide to move it.

****

Bailao who the first mayor candidate to champion this idea, including housing at the existing OSC site.....(could someone named Kouvalis whose well connected to Ford have something to do with the commonalities?) ....has said
she wants to retain the existing OSC building as a 'community hub'.

One seriously big 'hub'..... LOL
 
This article, written by a guy who literally should not be allowed to cover Queen's Park so long as his partner continues to be the Premier's coms director, working for a newspaper run by Rob Ford's former coms director, cannot be taken seriously.
I don't think anyone said there should be no private enterprise or development here - he even says in his article that eveyone knows the amphitheatre operates there now (as does Echo Beach).
What people don't want is a massive development that:
-takes up most of the site
-is priced and designed in such a way that it cuts off most of the site
-that dominates and fails to compliment the existing archiecture
-is subsidized by Provincial taxpayers and which pretends its enhancing the public sphere on the few slivers that are left

He's also wrong that it was always paid admission to get in there and good for him googling the Science Centre admission fees, though I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China.

I won't go line by line but it's a pretty dumb article that doesn't make much sense, IMHO. But if you think that this article actually makes the case that publicly owned waterfront lant called "Ontario Place," should obviously be a spa/water park or enjoyed reading "Controversial project is actually a gift from Amazing and Handsome Ontario Premier" from the most compromised "journalist" currently on the beat, more power to you (especially if you live in Fort York and have avoided being part of the scary "Downtown NDP Base.")
Dude, mayoral candidates are saying there shouldnt be any attraction at all there. Ive gotten into arguments here with people saying it should be exclusively a park.
What news have you been reading?

now theres this....

-takes up most of the site
-is priced and designed in such a way that it cuts off most of the site
-that dominates and fails to compliment the existing archiecture
-is subsidized by Provincial taxpayers and which pretends its enhancing the public sphere on the few slivers that are left
- well....yea, if you want just a shack where the logflume ride is, i guess this is correct, but cmon seriously? Any other attraction would be the same size.
- how does it "cut off most of the site"? the area the water park will be is litterally fenced off. It cant be anymore restrictive than it already is
- another phrase for "doesnt fit the character of the neighborhood" Need i say more?
- ...in your opinion. My opinion is that it's the opposite, Whats the term for when private industry pays for stuff for the benefit of the government? still called subsidization right? if both sides are sibsidizing stuff, what is that called? you know the answer to this, it defeats the rest of your point

but if you think that this article actually makes the case that publicly owned waterfront lant called "Ontario Place," should obviously be a spa/water park
Ive said it before and i say it again

"Ontario Place was a beloved waterpark before and it will be again," Whether you pay $40 to the government or to a private company should make absolutely 0 difference to you

For the record Im as liberal/socialist as it gets, while a government run attraction would be cool, and while I think the government should do all p3/infrastructure projects themselves instead of contracting out, That's just not the world we live in, Be realistic here, We are getting a good deal out of this
 
"Ontario Place was a beloved waterpark before and it will be again," Whether you pay $40 to the government or to a private company should make absolutely 0 difference to you

With respect, what gives you the right to determine the moral views or preferences of others. A lot of what you say comes off as "This is what i want therefore you should want it too, and anything else is ridiculous because I say so"

You would get more positive interaction if you expressed your preference for what it is, a preference, your indifference for what it is, yours

For many people there is a key idea here, which is should a private company profit off of public property, at-scale. (one must recognize that there is always some profit/private involvement, in government, unavoidably so, irrespective of one's politics); but there is a difference between leasing some space to restaurant/concessions operators, and turning over a very large chunk of the actual property to a private interest.

It's fine that it doesn't bother you, that that is not a principle that concerns you, but it does concern others.

This was an 'attraction' built for the people; and if it made any profit (which usually it did not) that went back to the people. This will not be the case with Therme, whose proposal is not viable without some measure of public subsidy, the amount of which we do not know due to government secrecy.

For the record Im as liberal/socialist as it gets, while a government run attraction would be cool, and while I think the government should do all p3/infrastructure projects themselves instead of contracting out,

I'm not sure I accept any of the above, as your stated views seem inconsistent with it. Let me try this....."We have to accept the government leasing public land to private schools that charge tuition, and even subsidizing their construction costs, even when they are for-profit operators; sure, I'm socialist and favour public schools and free tuition for them, but that's just not the world we live in" Are you signing on? If not, you understand why people have a problem with a view that advocates 'settling' for less than what we had in 1975.

Be realistic here, We are getting a good deal out of this

Says Who? Again. This is not a venue or service that appeals to me; and I could actually afford to go. What of all the people who cannot?, but whose taxes will subsidize this operation?
 
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- another phrase for "doesnt fit the character of the neighborhood" Need i say more?
With respect, I think it's completely inappropriate to compare this to a serious topic of housing politics. Comparing the resistance to a themepark with the resistance of badly needed housing in the middle of a major housing and homeless crisis is a) a meaningless comparison, and b) borderline offensive to those who are fighting for more housing.

in your opinion. My opinion is that its the opposite, Whats the term for when private industry pays for stuff for the benefit of the government? still called subsidization right? if both sides are sibsidizing stuff, what is that called? you know the answer to this, it defeats the rest of your point
I would also add that I don't quite understand this? Therme would be free to purchase private land and build there. They would also be free to build a parking garage there if they chose to. The benefit to the government would be the same in either case. The benefits to Therme would be different.
 

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