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LAST UPDATE: July 5 2021
Watch The History of Ontario Place, a new video exploring the architecture of Ontario Place, brought to you by ACO Toronto and Old Toronto Series.
Concerns about the future of Ontario Place have re-emerged early in 2019 after Jim Ginou, re-appointed board chair of Ontario Place, stated: “There is nothing that can be saved. Because it has to be rebuilt, it can be rebuilt in any way that [Doug] Ford wants it to be rebuilt.”
Mid-January 2018: The Provincial government opened the site to international proposals for redevelopment. The guidelines dictate that the land will not be sale but available for long-term lease. Other restrictions include no residential development and a requirement to keep 7.5 acres (of the site´s total 155 acres) of park land. Proposals can incorporate part or all of the space (except for the Budweiser Stage), putting the Cinesphere at risk.
May 28, 2019: Michael Tibollo (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport) made an announcement at Ontario Place, re-opening the global call for submissions to develop the Ontario Place site. Minister Tibollo referred to Ontario Place as a ´diamond in the rough´ and outlined a vision to revive the site into a destination for locals, Canadians, and tourists. Minister Tibollo reassured that this redevelopment would not include residential units or casinos. The deadline for proposals is September 3, 2019. The Call for Development informational package posted to ontarioplacedevelopment.com outline that the majority of the Ontario Place site is open to redevelopment: "The areas available for development include the entirety of the East Island, the West Island, the mainland, the pod complex, and the Cinesphere cinema. There are no limitations on the use and / or retention of existing assets on Site, with the exception of the Budweiser Stage, as set out below." When asked whether the construction could impact the Cinesphere, Minister Tibollo reiterated that all options are on the table. This means that the architecture and landscape architecture of the site is still at risk of demolition and redevelopment. At the announcement, there was no mention of the City of Toronto Council approving the addition of Ontario Place to the Heritage Property Register earlier in May.
July 8 2019: John Alschuler, Chairman of HR&H Advisors in NYC, has helped develop waterfront plans for cities around the world. He spoke with CBC Metro Morning´s Matt Galloway about Ontario Place and approaches to its redevelopment ahead of a meeting in Toronto with City officials and experts to discuss the future of the site.
October 29 2019: Ontario Place is one of 25 sites added to the World Monuments Fund's 2020 World Monuments Watch list of at-risk sites of historical significance. ACO's Bill Greaves made the nomination. See Ontario Place's listing here.
View sources at the bottom of this page for more information and articles about the threat to Ontario Place. Slides from Ken Greenberg´s Alternative Futures: Ontario Place and Exhibition Place Ambitions and Vulnerabilities presentation at the Rally for Ontario Place (January 12, 2019) can be viewed through this link.
1969: Canadian Architect Award
1999: Ontario Association of Architects Awards
Ontario Place\'s Cinesphere opened in 1971 and was the first permanent IMAX theatre in the world. It is a 35-metre-wide, triodetic dome constructed from steel and aluminium tubes.
Ontario Place was a project designed to revitalize Toronto\'s waterfront. The site consisted of over 90 acres of artifically-made islands and lagoons. A break-water was formed using sunken ships.
In 2011, a renovation of the Cinepshere was completed by Gow Hastings Architects. The main theatre, lobbies, projection booth, sound system, concession stand, and visitor amenities were renovated. The facility was closed in 2012, but re-opened in 2017 and continues to show films.
This building won a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence in 1969, and an Ontario Association of Architects 25-Year Award in 1999. In 2017, the Cinesphere, along with the Pods, received the Prix du XXe Siècle from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the National Trust.
The Cinepshere was designated a structure of Cultural Heritage Value in 2014 by the province of Ontario. This designation reflects both the context of the complex\'s construction and its design. The complex is an excellent example of modern expressionism in Ontario, notably the geometric design of the Cinesphere and Pods.
On May 14, 2019, Toronto City Council carried a motion to include Ontairo Place on the Heritage Property Register.
On October 29, 2019 it was placed on the World Monuments Fund 2020 Watch list
News paper article in the Peterborough Examiner about Ontario Place
Article in The Telegram about Ontario Place
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