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September 14, 2023
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TORONTO – Today, Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure, issued the following statement on the submission of an updated Planning Act application to the City of Toronto for the Ontario Place redevelopment project.
“Ontario has submitted an updated development application that reflects the changes made as a result of feedback from the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and community members as we work together to breathe new life into Ontario Place. Since 2021, Ontario has hosted extensive public consultations on the redevelopment project, and I am pleased that over 9,200 people have participated in this process to share their input and ideas for the future of Ontario Place.
Our updated plan features approximately 50 acres of free parks, public, and green spaces for everyone to enjoy. Based on feedback received throughout the consultation process, the plan also now includes additional food and beverage options, waterfront programming, activity and play zones, and Indigenous elements and features throughout the site, as well as proposed Indigenous educational and programming opportunities. The plan also shows how the new, modernized Ontario Science Centre will be integrated with the preserved and upgraded Cinesphere and pod complex, as well as an underground public parking facility that will serve visitors across the site and will include increased spaces for bicycle parking.
The application also reflects Therme Canada’s updated design proposal for its new health and well-being destination. Based on feedback from the province, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the City of Toronto, the public, and key stakeholders, Therme’s updated plans will increase the free and accessible park and green space on the West Island to almost 16 acres, expand access to the waterfront, and reduce the overall volume of its buildings by approximately 25 per cent.
Our updated plan also includes improved mobility options. We are working with Metrolinx to upgrade the pedestrian bridges over Lakeshore Boulevard, which will allow visitors to connect to the Exhibition Place grounds. Once the new Ontario Line subway is complete, a new pedestrian promenade will allow visitors to walk directly to Ontario Place from the new Exhibition Station. We are also exploring a public shuttle bus option from Exhibition Station, with a drop-off zone at the new Ontario Place entrance, as well as other transportation opportunities. With these new connections, an improved marina and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport just down the street, people will benefit from unprecedented choice and convenience in travelling to Ontario Place to enjoy a full day of fun for everyone.
A key highlight of the redevelopment is our plan to build a new and inclusive marina with opportunities for waterside cafes, year-round restaurants, and entertainment. As a next step in this work, the province plans to engage with boaters and select marina industry experts later this fall to gather input on how the marina can be modernized and better support visitors throughout all seasons.
Construction activities are also beginning this fall to upgrade the site’s existing infrastructure, such as water, electrical and gas services, and progress continues to be made on repairing the exteriors of the Cinesphere and pods. We also recognize the historic significance of the Japanese Canadian Temple Bell and will ensure it is safely relocated from its current location on the West Island to a new location on the redeveloped Ontario Place site.
As part of this next phase of work, the site will be carefully prepared for construction, which will include the removal of a significant amount of trees and vegetation across the site. For every tree removed as a result of redevelopment activities, approximately twice as many trees that are native to the area will later be planted to improve and increase the long-term tree canopy on site. We are also engaging with Indigenous communities and seeking their guidance to ensure trees are repurposed where possible and continue to be a part of the future Ontario Place site.
We are breathing new life into Ontario Place, creating an iconic tourist destination that will unite friends and families in Ontario and draw visitors from across the globe for generations to come.”
Ministry of Infrastructure Media Line