Ontario Place History

March 17, 1969

Ontario Place is built
“It should be an exciting place, just as Ontario is an exciting and dynamic province.” –John Robarts, Premier of Ontario, 1970

May 22, 1971

Ontario Place opens
“The vision and scope of Ontario Place gives promise of our vast potential.” –Bill Davis, Premier of Ontario, 1971

July 1, 1972

New attractions and features
Children’s Village play area opened on the East Island.

August 1, 1978

Canada's first waterslide opens
Canada's first waterslide opened, bringing the attractions to the water's edge.

August 1, 1980

Ontario Place is transformed
Concrete silos were built on the West Island and featured displays of Northern Ontario wildlife.

1990

The waterpark expanded
Old waterslides were replaced with new ones including Rush River Raft Ride, Pink Twister and Purple Pipeline.

February 1, 1994 to May 18, 1995

The Forum was replaced with the Molson Amphitheatre
The Amphitheatre seats 16,000 as compared to 8,000 in the old concert venue.

July 20, 2006 to October 1, 2008

Special events
Rogers Chinese Lantern Festival began on the West Island. This event lasted until 2008.

June 1, 2010

In anticipation of Ontario Place’s 40th anniversary in 2011, Ontario Place honours its rich history and seeks a new vision for its future
In summer 2010, Ontario Place launched a new My Ontario Place pavilion and interactive website to seek public input into its long-term plans for redevelopment.

February 1, 2012

The province announces plans to revitalize Ontario Place and establishes a panel of community and business leaders chaired by John Tory to advise the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport on a new vision for Ontario Place.

June 5, 2012

John Tory and the Minister’s Advisory Panel host an in-person and virtual town hall to gather ideas from Ontarians on what people would like to see at a new Ontario Place.

July 26, 2012

The panel submits to government its report on Ontario Place Revitalization, recommending the site be transformed into a year-round, multi-use waterfront community and urban park for all Ontarians to enjoy.

September 1, 2012

Work begins to research the site to understand what needs to be done to prepare Ontario Place for future development.

December 1, 2012

We’re listening – Ontarians share their ideas about the new vision for Ontario Place. Humber College and the University of Toronto have used the revitalization project as a real world case study in class. The government participated on the review panels to hear the students’ ideas.

June 26, 2013

The province announces the first step to revitalization: a new urban park and waterfront trail on the east island of the site, providing residents and visitors access to part of the waterfront that has been closed to the public for more than 40 years.

November 12, 2013

Design team LANDinc and West 8 is selected for the urban park and waterfront trail — chosen for their extensive local and international experience in planning and designing large waterfront park projects.

December 2013 to March 2014

Province launches public meetings and online consultations encouraging Ontarians to help shape the vision for the park and trail at key stages in the design process. Ontarians also invited to provide feedback on the Environmental Assessment.

March 19, 2014

Developed design for park and trail is presented at public meeting #3. Key features of the park and trail include: an upper and lower park, a ravine gateway honouring First Nations’ heritage, a romantic garden, a rocky bluff for play, and a gentle summit to take in the views of Lake Ontario.

July 31, 2014

The province announces its long-term vision for Ontario Place with a proposed mix of features, including: a collection of green spaces, a blue park for water activities, flexible spaces for festivals, live-music year round, a culture, discovery and innovation hub, a canal district with shops and restaurants, conservation of the Cinesphere and pods, and a pedestrian land bridge to Exhibition Place.

February 24, 2015

Province awards construction contract to Urbacon. Selection was a result of an open, fair and competitive procurement process.

March 2015

Construction of the park and trail begins.

June 24, 2015

The waterfront trail is named the William G. Davis Trail in honour of Bill Davis who opened Ontario Place in 1971. The Province unveils the final design of the urban park.