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Big plans for Ontario Place Redevelopment

As expected, the Ontario government announced that as part of the redevelopment of Ontario Place, the Ontario Science Centre will be relocated to the Toronto waterfront. But the plan also pointed to more beach, greenspace and trail expansions than many observers and critics had expected.

The plan also involves bring in private sector partners like Live Nation which will redevelop the existing amphitheatre into a modern, year-round indoor-outdoor live music and performance venue that will attract world-class artists and events. Protecting the iconic amphitheatre lawns, the new venue will have an expanded capacity of 20,000 in the summer and close to 9,000 in the winter. It will offer a unique indoor/outdoor experience with operable exterior walls to accommodate events, rain or shine. Therm Canada is also a development partner. It has recommended design concepts for the future public spaces, including on the East Island and the expanded shoreline of the West Island. The concepts include Indigenous culture and place-keeping features and illustrate how the site will be revitalized and enhanced with new public trails, parkland, beaches and swimming areas

The plan will maintain some popular existing features including retaining and upgrading  Trillium Park, and expanding William G. Davis waterfront trail along the entire shoreline of Ontario Place, which will provide additional public access to the waterfront. There will also be more trees, gardens, landscaping, and native plants throughout the site.

The Ontario Science Centre will find its new home in a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility, as well as in a preserved and upgraded  Cinesphere and Pod complex. Moving the Ontario Science Centre also creates a  housing opportunity at the future site of a terminus station of the new Ontario Line with additional planned community infrastructure. The province says it will work with the City of Toronto on bringing more affordable and attainable housing to the neighbourhood. The Ontario Science Centre will be integrated with an underground public parking facility designed for the future with electric bus and vehicle chargers. This underground parking facility will be self-financing, revenue generating and will round one of seceral transportation options to get to and enjoy Ontario Place. This includes new pedestrian and cycle paths, as well as new transportation and transit options to connect Ontario Place and the Exhibition grounds directly to the Ontario Line subway.

To prepare for redevelopment, site servicing work will also begin this spring to upgrade and modernize Ontario Place’s existing infrastructure, such as water, electrical and gas services. A construction company will be selected soon to undertake the site servicing, following a competitive procurement process that was launched last year.

Additional details about the Ontario Science Centre’s relocation will be provided at a later date.

Work is underway to repair the exterior of the historic Cinesphere and Pod complex, in order to preserve and protect these important heritage features.

The redevelopment of Ontario Place will create approximately 5,000 new jobs, during both construction and permanent operations stages, and attract an estimated four to six million visitors each year.

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