Ontario Place is a treasured public space, a site of international heritage importance and well-used, well-loved parkland. As your City Councillor, I am committed to continuing to fight for a public, inclusive, and green Ontario Place for everyone to enjoy.
The Province’s development application for Ontario Place is asking for Official Plan and Zoning changes to allow its plan for a private spa, waterpark, and parking garage.
From the beginning of this process, I have prioritized a robust and transparent public process by the City to review the proposal in line with Council approved Guiding Principles for any redevelopment of Ontario Place, adopted in 2019.
I disagree with the Province of Ontario’s opaque and undemocratic decision-making process that resulted in the carving up of Ontario Place into private leases for development. I don’t believe the Province should be spending hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds to subsidize a private spa water park and accompanying parking structure. We already have the template for success for the site, with Trillium Park having been built at a fraction of the cost of the Province’s plan.
I am using every tool available at the City to fight for the future of this critical green space.
Action to Date
A City staff report on the application in April 2023 outlined numerous issues with the proposal, including the scope and scale of the structures and the lack of public space on the West Island. It is clear from this assessment that Province has failed to prove its plan fits into our vision for our waterfront. It also specifically noted that an Environmental Assessment should be conducted for the West Island, which the Province has refused to do.
I am grateful for the tremendous public response to this proposal and participation in the City consultation process I worked to create with City staff. In April 2023, hundreds of people attended in-person and virtual meetings on the application, with many more providing comments to City staff online, overwhelmingly stating strong opposition to the proposal. You can read a summary of the comments here.
Also in April, my colleagues on General Government Committee adopted my recommended motion to defer consideration of a transfer of City lands at Ontario Place being demanded by the Ford government until City Council makes a decision on the application and receives information on the terms of the lease with Therme.
In June, I hosted an Active Walk and Update with City Planning at Ontario Place on the application when the Province’s resubmission was delayed, keeping the public updated at every step of this process.
We just had another round of community consultations on the revised development application, which was then submitted on September 13. The City will be taking a close and careful look at in the coming days. At this time, what was presented last week in public consultations still hasn’t addressed the fundamental concerns of the project, including:
- The size and footprint of the building, which is ill-suited for the location;
- An exorbitantly expensive parking garage, paid for with hundreds of millions of Ontarians’ dollars that doesn’t help us meet our climate goals;
- The destruction of the current heritage landscape, including 850 trees and obstructing the views of the Cinesphere and the pods.
The City is still accepting feedback until September 23 on the revised development application. Share your thoughts here.
An open public process on the vision for Ontario Place revitalization is needed to plan the future of this critical waterfront green space, not closed-door deals. So much more is possible when dialogue and engagement are at the centre of planning for public lands.
I will continue to fight for these values as the redevelopment application continues. I invite you to stay connected to the City’s consultation process and I will keep you updated as more is announced.
For more information on the City review process, visit https://www.toronto.ca/OntarioPlace.