Ontario calls for big ideas for Ontario Place – but rules out casinos and condos

The government of Ontario has launched a search for private sector partners with "big and bold" ideas for a 155-acre waterfront property in Toronto – as long as they do not include casinos or condominiums.

The plan for an entertainment centre, first announced in January, has been renewed by Michael Tibollo, the province’s tourism minister. He said the government would consider "a broad range of ideas, from sport and entertainment landmarks to public spaces and parks, recreational facilities, and retail."

But he added, "our vision will not have casinos or condos".

A Forum Research poll in January found that 56% of Toronto’s citizens disapproved of a casino at the site.

Another fresh condition is that designs must include at least 7.5 acres of parkland, and submissions that propose the use of any part of the existing Trillium Park will be required to develop park space of an equivalent size.

The site will include up to 68 acres of land and 87 acres of water. The government will enter into a long-term land lease with its private sector partner but will not provide grant funding.

The deadline for submission is set at 3 September, and a winner will be selected in the autumn. The aim is to complete commercial negotiation in the course of next year.

Image: Ontario Place as it is now, with Cinesphere and marina (ID Duke/CC BY 2.5)

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