Ontario Place park, waterfront trail plans revealed
Published Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:13AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:02PM EDT
Construction of a new urban park and waterfront trail is expected to begin on the grounds of Ontario Place in the next few months.
Following a two-year-long discussion, which included an environmental assessment and infrastructure examination, the Ontario Liberals are moving ahead with a plan pitched last June.
Construction will begin at an unspecified time in the fall, Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Michael Coteau said at a news conference on Thursday morning.
The 7.5-acre parking lot will be replaced with a park and waterfront trail, which Coteau said he hopes will be completed in 2016.
The park and trail are the first steps in what will be a costly revitalization of the lakeshore land.
The Ontario Liberal government has committed $100 million to the project so far, Coteau said.
A potential new, year-round music venue at the Ontario Place site is still under consideration. The venue idea is inspired by the success of the Molson Amphitheatre, which Coteau said would remain in use through the revitalization project.
Some of the grounds will be used for cultural events and festivals, Coteau said. The Liberals have promised condominium buildings won’t be built there, but the strip of land closest to Lake Shore Boulevard may be used for shops and restaurants.
"It will be for Ontario. This is Ontario Place and we're going to continue with that legacy," Coteau said.
"The previous Ontario Place worked for many, many years. It was a very successful venue. I think that there's some opportunity here for us to maintain a lot of the original structure and the vision that Ontario Place brought."
The tourist attraction opened as a park, movie theatre, and pavilion complex in 1971. All facilities were closed in 2012, except for the amphitheatre, marina, entertainment venue and parking lot.