In a recent report, Toronto city staff are recommending that Ontario Place be listed on the city’s Heritage Register.
The recommendation comes after the province’s search for bids to redevelop the iconic site.
Ontario Place first opened in 1971, and in 2017, was upgraded to include a new public park and trail. It is still considered by many to be an iconic landmark in Toronto.
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The waterfront landmark “remains a rare and intact Modernist expression of integrated architecture, engineering and landscape architecture that honours and incorporates the natural setting of Lake Ontario,” says the report.
The Ford government is currently in talks to re-develop the site, with a new vision meant to “maximize investment” by opening the site up to private-sector partners to “renew Ontario place.”
Some suggestions for redevelopment include plans to replace the landmark with casinos.
The City of Toronto’s Heritage Register is a publicly accessible register of properties that have been evaluated and determined to have cultural heritage value, and listing Ontario Place on the register is a potential way to prevent the current premier’s recommendations from going forward.
According to the report, “the inclusion of 955 Lake Shore Boulevard West on the city’s Heritage Register would identify the property’s cultural heritage values and heritage attributes. Properties on the Heritage Register will be conserved and maintained in accordance with the Official Plan Heritage Policies.”
However, a listing on the register does not offer any legal protections under the Ontario Heritage Act, and would be a symbolic gesture from the city to the preservation board for Ontario Place to be preserved.
The report will make its way to the preservation board later this month before landing at council for a potential vote in mid-May.