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Liberals Say No to Condos at Ontario Place

Premier Kathleen Wynne promises that a revitalized Ontario Place would not involve residential development.

If the Liberal are re-elected, Premier Kathleen Wynne is vowing that Ontario Place will not become home to condos.

“Ontario Liberals believe that Toronto’s waterfront should be for everyone to enjoy,” reads her website. “Thoughtful and careful planning for the future of this site will make it an attractive destination for tourists and local residents alike. Ruling out residential development is part of that plan.”

The Liberal vision for the site would instead include:

  • a year-round music destination
  • a new urban park and waterfront trail
  • repurposed Cinesphere and pods
  • a canal district with stores and restaurants

In 2012, an expert panel tasked with developing recommendations for the site—and led by none other than current mayoral candidate John Tory—determined that “[S]uccessfully revitalizing an asset like Ontario Place requires the creation of new partnerships with the private sector” and called for 10–15 per cent of the land to go to residential development.


Wynne insists that a Liberal government would not pursue such a development strategy: “Selling land to a private developer may be an option for others, but it is not our choice,” she said at a campaign stop on Monday.

But if you’ve been saving up for a down payment on part of the Cinesphere, you might still be in luck—it’s always possible that NDP Leader Andrea Horwath or PC Leader Tim Hudak will be elected and introduce some innovative proposals for pod/dome living at Ontario Place.


  • OgtheDim

    Hudak would probably just sell it all.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      At a fraction of its value.

      • dsmithhfx

        And throw in a tax holiday.

  • nevilleross

    Hopefully, Wynne will win, and she can keep Ontario Place as it used to be (running a crown corporation isn’t that hard.)

  • torontothegreat

    Why can’t the government lease the land to developers and create mixed-use as per Tory’s suggestion?

    What Wynne is proposing IMHO: “Leave it be, until it becomes a blight and we offload the burden to developers (anyway)”

    • dsmithhfx

      The “burden” of prime real estate?

      • torontothegreat

        It’s just such a passive strategy employed at all levels of government. “We have some property we really want to sell, but don’t like the optics of selling it, so let’s just leave it dormant until the optics are okay to sell it”. It’s the Con game of privatization.

        • Squintz

          It was intended to be parkland. Why is residential the only kind of development that isn’t seen as “leaving it dormant?”

          • torontothegreat

            Sorry I think you’ve lost me. Where did I say that?

          • Squintz

            Perhaps I was reading too much between the lines. You say they have a passive strategy and are leaving it dormant, so I figured that a story about not developing Ontario place into condos and Wynn committing to not just dumping it off to private developers would perhaps be a reflection in the affirmative to either one of those. My mistake.
            Unless I am still mistaken did Wynn not commit to turning it into an urban park by 2015? What part of that is passive?

          • torontothegreat

            I’m not so sure I agree that having a vision for something is equal to commitment. I would like to see the government actually commit to anything for-use at Ontario Place (an urban park is a great idea!).

            A “vision” by definition is passive and considering this is an election, could be construed as appeasing to a base – or stick it to the competition. Commitment would be: “Hey we have X million dollars set aside for this, this is what we’re doing, this is our plan”.

            It’s seemingly commonplace to have a “vision”, don’t move on it, blame others, then turn around to an increasingly vocal public and sell it to seem like you’re doing something. It’s a shell game.

            edit: This quote is quite telling to me:

            The riding has been a battlefield between the Liberals and NDP for years, with longtime provincial New Democrat Rosario Marchese defeating Liberal candidate Sarah Thomson by 1,139 votes in the 2011 Ontario election.

            It’s among several NDP ridings the Liberals have targeted, hoping to consolidate their representation in vote-rich Toronto.

          • Squintz

            Every journey starts with a step. I’m not sure what you’re expecting here. It seems a little ambitious that something so geographically specific (Toronto as opposed to the rest of this massive province) would necessarily require such a specific and developed commitment this early in an election campaign to satisfy you.
            You seem to have already jumped to a cynical conclusion on something that could be seen as a relatively positive vision. Yes there is quite some work to be done and it is by no means a forgone conclusion, but I don’t think saying it is a con-game for privatizing is anywhere near justified.

          • torontothegreat

            I would completely agree with you if it wasn’t sitting dormant already since February 2012. Also, Wynne has failed to show where the money will actually come from, but promises 100 million dollars to “kick-start” it – knowing full well that she can only accomplish that with a majority gov’t (cue in blame the opposition)

            I am cynical of politicians making promises during an election in a highly contested riding with figures that they haven’t quantified or qualified in any way, shape or form. Yes. Guilty.

          • Squintz

            How long did the first phases of the waterfront development take? These things don’t happen over night. I am far from a Wynn supporter, but if you want to be cynical and cry foul maybe you should pick a bigger fish to fry. This is hardly the best example of buying votes and we still have Horwath and Hudak, one with no real platform and the other who can’t keep his lies and doctored numbers straight. This is a horrible political climate and slate of candidates, this in my mind is really not even an issue compared to the heaping piles of crap already on our plates.

          • torontothegreat

            That’s a fair point. I would be much less suspicious if this had been an item in the 2014 budget and if they hadn’t sat on their hands for 2.5 years on this. They could have accomplished SOMETHING in that time (not counting repeating their “vision”), no?

          • Squintz

            In response to your edit, causation does not imply correlation. I think it is a big stretch to say because the riding is viewed as a battle that this announcement is necessarily a lie pandering to voters. You could make that argument about any number of issues in any number of ridings. And if that is actually the case we have bigger problems than your suspicions that Wynn is lying to voters and will eventually privatize Ontario Place regardless of visions she campaigned on.

          • torontothegreat

            Strange, I thought I was relying on correlation to imply causation.

            In any scenario, you are very trusting of politicians ;)

  • Torontopia

    I am VERY happy to hear this. And YES, Ontario Place is an election issue for me, so this seals the deal.

    I want to See Ontario Place returned to being a great tourist attraction for Torontonians and tourists to enjoy year round. Rebuild the Forum, please and also restore and improve, the water-play area. In fact, turn it into a full fledged aqua resort for children and adults. At least if we keep OP for public use, there is hope it can become something great.

    I am so glad to see the Cinesphere and floating pods being kept. I would have freaked the hell out, if they had planned to tear them down. That would have been a complete travesty. Anyway, I am relieved now.

    • torontothegreat

      Do you live in this riding? I’m just curious as you say it’s an election issue and I hadn’t really thought of it until now.

    • dsmithhfx

      As far as my vote is concerned, it’s another nail in the Horwath/ONDP election 2014 coffin.

      A “vision” is not guaranteed to be fulfilled — unlike a lack of vision.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    If it isn’t to be sold off, perhaps we could put a Ferris Wheel down there. Make the Fords happy.

  • HotDang

    Oh yeah! The Liberals are back, baby!

  • Stu

    Funny it was the Liberals that originally pushed for Condos at Ontario place in the first place.

    • nevilleross

      McGuinty did, not Wynne