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Toronto Area Could Be Getting a Giant Waterpark

This 9,300-square-metre waterpark/event complex would be open year-round—even and especially during endless winters.

If winter is as interminable and unremitting in 2016 as it has been in 2014, Torontonians might at least be able to find some warm-weather recreational relief without having to leave the country or exercise considerable ingenuity. A development group know as marbleLIVE has decided that what this city needs is access to a $60-million, 9,300-square-metre indoor/outdoor water park and event complex—with a retractable roof, obviously, so that snow squalls won’t interfere with wintertime water fun.

No site has been selected yet: the developers indicate they’re in discussions with both Toronto and Mississauga about possible locations, and have narrowed the field to three promising sites.

If and when this balmy, year-round, winter-denying complex opens, it promises “wave pools, water slides, lazy rivers, splash pads, a sandy beach, cabanas, party rooms, retail nodes, quality restaurants and live events.” We’re unclear what exactly “retail nodes” are, although they sound potentially both profitable and painful, but most of those other things sound nice—and just look at how happy those people in the video seem to be.

In unrelated news, it appears Toronto might be in for some more wintery weather and freezing rain on Wednesday—it would probably be unwise to attempt to recreate any of the scenes from this promotional video this coming Wednesday.


  • Derek

    forget all the pools filled with kiddie poo and piss… just give me a world class sauna with multiple steam rooms, dry/wet/traditional/uv saunas, with bubble bath tubs, good shower facilities etc like in Finland or throughout Europe

    • Jason Kucherawy

      They could build both the spa AND the waterpark. Charge people like Derek a huge fee for VIP treatment in a “world class sauna” or bubble bath and use that to subsidize the waterpark for families!

    • HotDang

      I’d prefer a place where there’s a nice sofa, lots of junk food, a cozy blanket, and a decent television.

    • Dave Rage

      Ye totally, but nude.

  • wklis

    Needs to be accessible by transit, so that people without chauffeurs can get to it and use it.

  • Jennifer S

    two words: Ontario Place

    • Canadianskeezix

      Really? It will undoubtedly look like a warehouse from the outside.

      • 44North

        It doesn’t have to. There could be a contingency where it must fit in well with its surroundings. Well landscaped with a tiered design may actually look quite attractive.

        Although a similar type project (Ripleys aquarium) is a major let down IMO. A blank boring metal shark with a bare roof? Gimme a break.

        • Canadianskeezix

          With a budget of $60 million, the strong likelihood is that it will look like a warehouse.

    • Steveinto

      I was thinking the Skydome, already has a retractable roof and good access for forms of travel. Need to use it for something.

    • 44North

      Ontario Place seems good. Even though it could easily fit this project, it’s quite a small site regardless. I’d like for the Prov to increase the land area of Ontario Place, with or without a theme park.

      How about the Hearn Generating Station?

      • Canadianskeezix

        How would they increase the land area of Ontario Place? Expanding it into Coronation Park would be hugely controversial. Not sure how they’d move Lake Shore Blvd. Even if there were lands in the vicinity, the cost of expropriating lands in that area would be huge – is that the best expenditure of public funds when we have vacant lands elsewhere on the waterfront? Some sort of consolidation of Ontario Place and the CNE lands would make the most sense, and perhaps that’s what you mean.

        Hearn is tied up in a long-term lease.

        • 44North

          No expropriation or northward expansion. I mean expanding the land further out into the lake…potentially using tunneled material from any one of our subway projects. That, and/or filling in the narrows between the islands making up Ontario Place. I think that would be quite optimal.

          Hearn is tied up, but leases can be renegotiated. It’s otherwise sitting vacant, and the owners want something done with it.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Good luck with the environmental approvals on that. The cost itself, when the public authorities own plenty of vacant land on the waterfront and have a list of other waterfront priorities, would kill any proposal. The likelihood of expanding into the Lake at that location is nil. It won’t even get on the radar.

            If you have some insight on renegotiating the Hearn lease, which no one else has been able to do, please share. Anything can be done for a price, but given that this proposal already seems to be on a shoestring budget, it ain’t going to happen at the Hearn. The owners *do* want something done with it — the owners are not the problem.

          • 44North

            The environmental approvals would be tricky, and I’m sure the cost would be more than trucking this bored earth to some other dump site in/outside the GTA. But the idea of using tunneled material to create a series of islands off Humber Bay was floated some years ago. I don’t think it went anywhere, but it was on some people’s radar.

  • tomwest

    Why does the name of everything end in “LIVE” these days? And is it like the opposite of dead, or the opposite of pre-recorded?

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    How does the size of this compare to the casino proposals from a year ago? Shouldn’t similar objections apply? It’s not just a water park, it’s an “event complex”.

    • Canadianskeezix

      Presumably it wouldn’t be licensed for legalized gambling. That’s one big difference.

      Much difference size-wise. Oxford was saying at the time that it’s proposed complex would cost $3.3 billion. The budget for this is reportedly $60 million.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Gambling was a concern, but not the only one. Transit/congestion and impact on local businesses were also major concerns. The smallest casino/hotel/convention hall proposal was (as far as I can tell) in the 280,000 sqm range, so this is significantly smaller – assuming the above 9,300 sqm isn’t just the water park space – but they haven’t said what they mean by “event complex”.

        • Canadianskeezix

          Absolutely, but the casino was the lightning rod (compare the reaction then to the reaction now to the 290,000 sq. m. mixed-use project by Allied/RioCan/Diamond at Front and Spadina – practically crickets in comparison). At 9300 sq. m., this facility is smaller than a lot of the retail centres currently under development in this town, most of which would generate as much, if not more, traffic, and give rise to much more direct impacts on local businesses.

          We might start to hear concerns and objections if they name a specific site. Then we’ll potentially hear about the site-specific traffic issues and adverse impacts on neighbouring lands, the local BIA might pipe up, etc.

        • AxelrodKinsella

          Sarah sweet did a good job writing the story and it was clear enough to her that an event complex is a place to hold “live events.”