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It’s All Yours at Ontario Place

The landmark's evolution from a showcase of the province's achievements to a family amusement park.

Born out of what could be called “Expo 67 envy,” Ontario Place was originally designed to be a park where the cultural and economic accomplishments of the province could be celebrated, with a side order of entertaining diversions. While the early exhibits flopped, Ontario Place became a spot where children played, teens saw their favourite acts at the Forum, adults enjoyed a drink, and everyone caught a film at the Cinesphere or watched the crowds drift by. Though its early programming was geared to all ages, the park has evolved into a haven for younger visitors, which some have pointed to as a reason for declining attendance.

Today, we found out that Ontario Place is largely shutting down, effective immediately, in anticipation of a planned redevelopment of the site. As Ontario Place prepares for its latest makeover, a look back at its first two decades.


  • 10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Roa

    We need something that shows progress, and government leadership. Of course we need good private organization and management as well.

    I’m thinking about a sort of Royal Botanical Gardens on water. A greenhouse on water. Aquaponics. A fish farm with a grow-op over top of it.

    On the lake, but not connected to the lake per se, except maybe for water filtration/recyling purposes. The vegetation grown there could be both for consumption and beauty. Something that would involve the endorsement of the Ministry of Agriculture, and of Natural Resources (Fisheries). The University of Guelph faculty of Agriculture, and perhaps George Brown Culinary would be involved somehow.

    There could be a weekly farmers market there. Weekly all year round farmer’s markets are very popular. Ontario place is closely connected to about seven distinct communities, and the bike/walk trail is active all year. Everything around Ontario place continues to grow.

    Most certainly a core restaurant could go in there. One that incorporates the fish and produce grown from of the Aquaponic system.

    There’s a lot of money (hundreds of thousands) to be made from growing fish like tilapia and perch for consumption. Catfish, trout. There’s many options with regards to aquatic life. Minnows for anglers?

    Perhaps a separate greenhouse area for purchasable co-op lot shares to allow the public more space for growing local produce! Some of our aboriginal communities have something really good gong on:

    Just imagine what it would be like to tour around fish ponds and gardens by the lakeside, that sustain each other. Pictures and diagrams and guides explaining what’s taking place and how it all works. The serene sounds futuristic nature fusion atmosphere, and various smells. A sensual experience.

    All of this would compliment the Islands nature, that windmill, the surrounding communities, while raising awareness and showing everyone that the government still cares about innovation and agriculture and inspiring people! Oh yes, and sustainability as well.

    Where else are city people going to experience this? Tourists would be proud and inspired as well. This is exactly what our city needs to educate and inspire people who rarely see a world outside of the city.

    Perhaps the golf ball Cinesphere design turns in to a much more massive golf ball. Big enough to envelop the marina. We could charge more for the hanger style marina. There’s no doubt that the Skydome will see its end some day, and it’s already becoming enveloped by condos. Ontario Place could be that new landmark.

    Should be, that new landmark.

  • Erella Ganon

    Ontario Place was ours. We went there and enjoyed it. It was affordable at the time. Over the years all the wonderful free attractions were taken away. Remember Children’s Village and that forest of hanging punching bags? Remember having picnics and watching great concerts on the Lawn for $5? Profit seeking private partnerships were brought in and people stopped coming. Now there is talk of putting a Casino there. Didn’t we already pay for this park? How can we even think of such foolishness?