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Vision and Recommendations

In February 2012, the Ontario government announced the partial closure of Ontario Place to move forward with revitalization.  At that time, an Advisory Panel was established to advise the government on redevelopment of the site. 

While preliminary work is still underway, we have made key decisions that have helped inform and shape Ontario Place’s future:

  • Any development will respect and enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings and protect sightlines to the water
  • It will create easy public access to the waterfront and restore a landscape culturally specific to Ontario and its waterfront.
  • There will be no casino at Ontario Place
  • Any residential component of a revitalized Ontario Place will comprise a small portion of the site – it will not be a wall of condos
  • Ontario Place will be an open and accessible place for all Ontarians
  • We will take the time to do this right for future generations.

How did we get here?

Ontario Place Revitalization report cover

Hearing from Ontarians is an important part of the revitalization process.

The Advisory Panel undertook a comprehensive process to develop their advice, including public feedback and the review of previous studies and research. On July 26, 2012, the Advisory Panel submitted their report [PDFWord] and recommendations on how to transform Ontario Place. 

Key Recommendations

The following 18 recommendations were made by the Advisory Panel to guide Ontario towards a successful revitalization.

Live, work, play and discover at the water’s edge

  1. The new Ontario Place must be committed to design excellence in building, landscape and planning, as well as creative sustainable principles — this means ensuring a small ecological footprint in all that is developed.
  2. Any new development must respect and enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings by improving and protecting sightlines to the water, creating easy public access to the waterfront.
  3. Ontario Place should use a portion of its 155 land-water lot property (10 to 15 per cent) for residential development with buildings that demonstrate design excellence, sustainability principles and are sized appropriately. Ontario Place should also consider the feasibility of a hotel or resort.
  4. Ontario Place must be a place for people to work — not just visit or live.  From corporate headquarters to cafés and shops, the redevelopment should include space for commerce and business. 
  5. Ontario Place should have a venue – like the original forum — for a range of cultural activities, from concerts and theatre, to performances, festivals and community events. The new venue should be designed to operate year-round.
  6. Ontario Place should look at a range of entertainment and cultural activities to infuse the community with vibrancy — and generate revenue to offset the operating costs of the new public space.
  7. Ontario Place should position itself as an ideal site for a research or education centre for excellence and work diligently to secure an institutional anchor tenant with international repute.

    Designing a new public realm 

  8. Ontario Place and its waterfront must be accessible — an open door — and completely barrier free to all who visit. 
  9. Ontario Place needs to be open year-round, offering compelling activities to draw a range of audiences throughout the different seasons.
  10. Ontario Place needs to be flexible and better able to adapt to changing times. It can do this through creative programming that engages with visitors in fresh, new ways; and new technologies that create connections with a tech-savvy generation of visitors.
  11. Ontario Place must demonstrate leadership in environmental sustainability and design excellence. 
  12. Ontario Place should respect and celebrate the natural landscape as well as the historical connections with the site.
  13. Future designs for Ontario Place should explore ways to feasibly include the iconic Cinesphere and pods.

    Exploring potential partnerships 

  14. Ontario Place and Exhibition Place should explore the potential for joint master planning, shared access and transportation planning — to enrich the experience of visitors to both sites and to expand the blueprint of a unique destination.
  15. To achieve its full potential, Ontario Place must become a more flexible model based on strong private-public partnerships. It can become an inspiring and exemplary new model for future revitalization projects.
  16. Ontario Place should explore the potential for individual donors and corporate sponsors to help invest in a shared legacy project along the water of Lake Ontario.  
  17. The many assets in Ontario’s arts, culture and sporting sectors should be leveraged at Ontario Place — to offer a venue that showcases Ontario’s cultural diversity.
  18. Working with private sector and provincial and municipal partners, Ontario Place should explore new public transit opportunities to better access the western lakeshore area.