Ontario Place | ?m | ?s | Province of Ontario | Zeidler

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Only the private sector can save Ontario Place
t’s sadly typical of Toronto politics that when Premier Doug Ford proposed revitalizing Ontario Place, closed in 2012 after decades of neglect, the first thing we heard from the usual suspects was what they didn’t want.

No ferris wheel. No casino. Don’t touch the Cinesphere. Don’t change the pods. No redevelopment if it’s being done by the private sector.

In other words, no substantive changes to the once-iconic waterfront park, which opened in 1971 with 2.5 million visitors, but by the end was limping along at 300,000 per year.
The reality is that without private sector involvement, Ontario Place will remain as it is because the province can’t afford to redevelop it.

The previous Liberal government under premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne announced plans to revitalize Ontario Place most of which never happened.
More......https://torontosun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-only-the-private-sector-can-save-ontario-place
 

Bayer

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[...]In other words, no substantive changes to the once-iconic waterfront park, which opened in 1971 with 2.5 million visitors, but by the end was limping along at 300,000 per year.
The reality is that without private sector involvement, Ontario Place will remain as it is because the province can’t afford to redevelop it.
More......https://torontosun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-only-the-private-sector-can-save-ontario-place

It would be fascinating to see that many visitors again, if only to confirm how unpleasant it would be to get there. Somehow I have zero confidence that any attention will be paid to transit. Years ago I went to one of the fireworks competitions, and getting out of there was such a mess that I swore never to return.
 
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adma

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it was more of a place for leisure type amusements like mini-golf, water slides and the Children's Village where kids could have fun and not realize they were getting hours of exercise.

Interesting to consider that a lot of that didn't gel until OP's second season; and Children's Village--which, lest we forget, was deemed to be as innovative a concept as the Cinesphere--really represented OP at the peak of its powers. (And IMO it's when they added the water slide features that the free-form 70s "purity" of the original Children's Village concept--and that of OP at large, for that matter--started to fray. Even if it was "popular", there's something about water parks that just manages to be, how, shall we put it, generic anyplace.)
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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The only private company that I would allow to fix up Ontario Place would be The Walt Disney Company. And only if it would be a Disneyland Canada.

The only problem would be that the admission price will be high.

Disney wouldn't bother with a site like OP - and if they can be "enticed" to do so it will cost the government a handsome bundle in co-financing.

AoD
 

Northern Light

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The only private company that I would allow to fix up Ontario Place would be The Walt Disney Company. And only if it would be a Disneyland Canada.

The only problem would be that the admission price will be high.

Putting aside my personal desire to preserve public access to the water's edge, and to do so in a way that's viable (frequent points of access/egress, sufficient landscaping, washrooms etc.)......and that that is inconsistent w/Disney taking over (or any other theme park operator)...........

I don't get the fascination w/this operator.

Its not that I don't get theme parks............but CW has a better roller coaster selection than any Disney park, at a fraction of the price.

Yes Disney (depending on which park) has hotels/resorts, some other, decent'ish non-ride attractions and such............

But for a price that I consider to far exceed its value.

There's a reasonable discussion for what to do w/OP. But can we take a pass on uber-kitsch or private playground?
 
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TJ O'Pootertoot

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I worked at a restaurant/bar for one glorious summer at OP and it was packed almost every night, selling lots and lots of beer! Lots of drunken fights too. It was a fun place to work.

I don't know why (since I only visited once or twice after being drinking age, before it closed) but there was a German beer garden called "Zum Reim" (sp?) and for some reason, that name always struck me as funny and has always stuck with me. But, yeah, it was an interesting mix of things. "Leisure" elements for kids, that more adult area in the village area beneath the Forum and then... almost like a "world's fair" type thing, but Ontario-centric. I can see how it ran its course but still think the bones of the place are strong enough to support something new without a casino or other lame ideas.
 

ponyboy

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Times are different than 1971 -- how to you draw people out? competitors for our personal time include rich television and internet content at home (we are more homebodies than before), and Canada Wonderland has the best ride-based amusement park that is unlikely to be surpassed in the GTA. What could be done would be a focus on Entertainment of all types aimed at the middle of the market -- Music venues, new theatre row (Canadian Broadway), a permanent Cirque presence, a Multicultural village (Epcot World Showcase), a nightclub/bar row that is well integrated into the nearby Stadium. A fountain or lightshow that could attract people each evening (I know it's not original, but effective). They could also create a Canadian "Beastmaster" show set (similar to American Ninja Warrior) where people can watch X-games being filmed for TV. Another type of place would be a Dave and Busters type place, a trampoline and laser tag place, a bowling alley. Whatever they do, the designers need to focus on synergy of all of these venues, rather than isolating them into silos. Guests need to be able to walk form one venue to another, so it needs to be porous. Perhaps most critical, it needs to be safe exciting, and lot of opportunities for people to watch other people. Also, OP really should be coordinated with Exhibition place very carefully (access is a major issue). It is unfortunate if political fights keep it from being the best it can be. It needs to make money because the days of big government spending on massive public projects are over. If a Casino is part of the mix to make it all happen, I'm okay with that, but the devil is in the details of how it is tied in to the other activities.
 
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Northern Light

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Times are different than 1971 -- how to you draw people out? competitors for our personal time include rich television and internet content at home (we are more homebodies than before), and Canada Wonderland has the best ride-based amusement park that is unlikely to be surpassed in the GTA. What could be done would be a focus on Entertainment of all types aimed at the middle of the market -- Music venues, new theatre row (Canadian Broadway), a permanent Cirque presence, a Multicultural village (Epcot World Showcase), a nightclub/bar row that is well integrated into the nearby Stadium. A fountain or lightshow that could attract people each evening (I know it's not original, but effective). They could also create a Canadian "Beastmaster" show set (similar to American Ninja Warrior) where people can watch X-games being filmed for TV. Another type of place would be a Dave and Busters type place, a trampoline and laser tag place, a bowling alley. Whatever they do, the designers need to focus on synergy of all of these venues, rather than isolating them into silos. Guests need to be able to walk form one venue to another, so it needs to be porous. Perhaps most critical, it needs to be safe exciting, and lot of opportunities for people to watch other people. Also, OP really should be coordinated with Exhibition place very carefully (access is a major issue). It is unfortunate if political fights keep it from being the best it can be. It needs to make money because the days of big government spending on massive public projects are over. If a Casino is part of the mix to make it all happen, I'm okay with that, but the devil is in the details of how it is tied in to the other activities.

I think you're begging a series of questions...........including how much of draw we want the space to be?

Don't get me wrong.....I'm open to that, but I don't think it's essential across the board...........merely for Cinesphere and the pods, if you want those preserved, as I do.

I'm challenged here............in that I can think of different ways to look at the site and context............but in the scheme of grand spending priorities.........I struggle to rank this as a large one relative to a Relief Line......or RER or tackling the homeless issue etc.

Yes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time............but I'm not sure how much we should prioritize something grand here...........

Which should not be construed as an argument for anything bland, boring, boxy or kitschy.

I think it's crucial to resolve what happens w/Lake Shore and the relationship to the CNE site..........in order to assess how one might lay out space here.

***

My overall inclination..........Excepting the area around Cinesphere, the pods and one of the sets of restaurant type spaces.....................

I think I would go for a curated natural theme...............

It would be a great space to do a centrally located man made beach.........

Plus some coastal wetlands in other pockets,,,,,,,,

Forest a bunch of it..........and modify the amphitheater.....to give it more of a theatre in the forest kinda feel.....plus a natural 'adventure playground' for kids.......and how about a waterslide into the Lake.....(shh you liability lawyers)

Then restore the pods/Cinesphere. Use the pods to create a space that celebrates Ontario's social and scientific advances, including child-friendly shows that work w/that theme and lots of tech.

Bring back the paddle boats, but add canoes and kayaks.........and lessons for same.

Then create one main restaurant area...........low-rise, patio-focused.......and adjacent to water and forests..........

Leave Lake Shore where it is...........but cover the surface parking.........and 2 sections of Lake Shore.....to create wide (150m) bridges that have vegetation mixed w/urban streetscapes.

On the CNE side......keep the good stuff................

But make Princess Blvd Grand.............( I just mean nice promenade/streetscape, public space)

Don't do a Ferris Wheel............too damned copy cat..............

Instead......do only two rides................

One would be 'alpine way' but in a grander set-up and use it to create a link to the OP side.

The other would be to rebuild the Flyer roller coaster, albeit bigger and better.............but have the thing light up in a massive display each night........

And pretty please replace that awful food building with a better run pop-up focused food hall. (with good climate control, windows and skylights)

........just a thought......or two.
 
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WislaHD

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It feels so hopeless to me. King Doug will do whatever he wants and our timid mayor is completely ineffective at standing up to him. Ford already sabotaged our election out of thoughtless vindictive spite and completely got away with it. If they can smash our *election* and nothing happens who really will be able to hold them to account over preserving architectural heritage? Conservatives keep supporting their leaders no matter how authoritarian they get. What can the rest of us even do? I was out protesting the election and if they're gonna bulldoze the Cinesphere I'll get out there too, but I feel really really low about the prospects here.
The Fordians backed down from the worst provisions of Bill 66 which could have gutted parts of the greenbelt, so with enough opposition, they can be convinced otherwise here too. Don't give up!

42
Greenbelt affected PC ridings.

Ontario Place is in Toronto and detached from most constituents of PC ridings.
 

jozl

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My apologies if this has already been discussed. About ten days ago Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn wrote an intriguing article suggesting that the Ontario Science Centre would do well to move to Ontario Place.
https://www.thestar.com/politics/po...should-rethink-how-we-redo-ontario-place.html
Cohn states that the 50 year old Science Centre is looking a little tired. It’s also located in a hard to get to area of the city which is far off the beaten track familiar to visitors and tourists. The province could sell off the current site that the centre occupies to help pay for the relocation to Ontario Place. The Science Centre’s IMAX theatre could move into the OP dome and the OP pods could easily (I think) be converted to house exhibits. Ontario Place is also closer to the downtown core where most tourists gather. I think it’s a great idea And certainly worth considering.
 

W. K. Lis

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My apologies if this has already been discussed. About ten days ago Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn wrote an intriguing article suggesting that the Ontario Science Centre would do well to move to Ontario Place.
https://www.thestar.com/politics/po...should-rethink-how-we-redo-ontario-place.html
Cohn states that the 50 year old Science Centre is looking a little tired. It’s also located in a hard to get to area of the city which is far off the beaten track familiar to visitors and tourists. The province could sell off the current site that the centre occupies to help pay for the relocation to Ontario Place. The Science Centre’s IMAX theatre could move into the OP dome and the OP pods could easily (I think) be converted to house exhibits. Ontario Place is also closer to the downtown core where most tourists gather. I think it’s a great idea And certainly worth considering.

Not going to happen, for several things:

"Located in a hard to get to area of the city which is far off the beaten track familiar to visitors and tourists."
a) We're currently building a rapid transit line, that passes by it, east to west & west to east. To be called the "Eglinton Crosstown LRT".​
b) We're planning on a Phase Two for the Relief Line, that will go from Toronto's City Hall and will pass the Ontario Science Centre.​
c) The name of the station(s) will be called "Science Centre Station". Don't think they'll name the station, then move the attraction. See link.​
 

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