The majority of the ex-amusement park remains in redevelopment limbo.
There was a brief flutter of excitement this morning when it was revealed that there would be an announcement about next steps for Ontario Place, the aging entertainment complex that the province closed for redevelopment in February 2012. Hope for some kind of bold revamp dimmed the moment Tourism Minister Michael Chan took the podium to inform reporters that all Queen’s Park is committing to, for the moment, is a 7.5-acre public park.
The Star reports that this park would be built on the site of a former parking lot, and that, according to Chan, “it will be a moderate park.” Global adds that it will include a waterfront trail. The idea is for it to be complete in time for Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games.
The groundwork for Ontario Place’s revitalization was laid last year when a special advisory panel, led by John Tory, held some public consultations and then released a report detailing a number of recommendations for the site. That report called for the majority of Ontario Place’s 155 acres of land and water to be turned into a public park, with the rest given over to businesses, residences, entertainment venues, and maybe a resort hotel.
The report also called for “design excellence.” A “moderate park” doesn’t sound as though it will live up to that standard. And 7.5 acres is far from a majority of Ontario Place’s landmass—though to be fair, we don’t know whether more parkland will be announced in the future.
The province has yet to announce where funding for the park will come from, nor has it announced any specifics about what might happen to the rest of Ontario Place, except that there won’t be a casino.