What do people want to see built on the Ontario Place lands?
When Ontario Place closed down in 2012, it was clear that the land underneath the former amusement park was ripe for redevelopment. But what do we do with all that lakefront property? The Ontario government, Ontario Place’s owner, has spent the past six years mulling that question, with very little to show for it.
But now Doug Ford is premier, and suddenly there’s a sense of urgency around coming up with a redevelopment plan for the site. In November, Queen’s Park moved to dissolve the public board that oversees Ontario Place. Now there are plans to solicit redevelopment proposals. Ford’s presence at the forefront of the redevelopment push has led to a certain amount of paranoia: will he build a casino, like he wanted the city to do when he was a councillor? Or would he support a gigantic ferris wheel, like the one he wanted to build in the Port Lands?
Whatever Ford is thinking, people aren’t waiting to make their own suggestions. Here are some of the ideas being floated for Ontario’s Place’s next life.
Martin Regg Cohn, a columnist at the Star, suggested moving the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place:
A casino? Crass! A ferris wheel? Juvenile!
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) January 31, 2019
We’re guessing this would be even less popular than a casino:
How about a boulodrome for playing boules / pétanque on the Ontario Place grounds? We saw these in public parks throughout France and persons of all ages can play and enjoy this simple game. https://t.co/jwuU5IQGTn
— Jennifer Webster (@callenderweb) January 31, 2019
Does Toronto need another beach? This guy thinks so:
My idea for Ontario Place would be to pulverize a bunch of Canadian Shield rock and create massive beach for Toronto. Extend the 509 streetcar and create space for local retail and restaurants and make it a mostly summer destination for the city. @TheAgenda
— Northern Sycamore 🌳 (@tombroen) January 31, 2019
This person is probably being sarcastic, but people love outlet malls—and we know Doug Ford’s wife loves to shop:
Who needs a Children’s Village when the children can listen to a description of the village while on the monorail with their parents to score some great deals at the Ontario place Bath & Body Works
— jump for my love (@JodiesJumpsuit) January 28, 2019
But the most popular idea for Ontario Place, seemingly, is just remaking what was already there:
I loved going to Ontario place as a kid. Education combined with play. That's what we need
— MINOGAAMOKWE (@minogaamokwe) January 28, 2019
A lot of people were apparently pretty happy with the pre-shutdown status quo:
I do not want to see a casino there I want to see Ontario place brought back or something for families.
— Jane C. 🇨🇦 (@CanuckCatLady) January 28, 2019
It’s hard to imagine a Doug Ford government taking such a zen approach to redevelopment, but time will tell:
We all want Ontario place up and running as a them park again! No casinos! Parks and green space only! https://t.co/vxgBys8Fjl
— Tree (@Tree74canada) January 28, 2019