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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Ontario place closing this summer

 Today it was announced that Ontario place will be closing this summer for a much needed revamp. For the last couple years Caribana has been using the facility to hold the family oriented "lime" on the two days following the big parade. It was nice venue for the event and more easily accessible than the Toronto Islands.
We don't know yet where the event will be moved to... perhaps back on the centre island? Maybe Downsview? We'll see what happens. Anyway, below is an article about the Ontario place closing. 
Its such a great physical location, I really hope they keep the public access and not sell off the land to some condo developer. I don't care for the casino idea, but then again I went to Vegas and didn't gamble.  
Ontario Place shuts some facilities for revamp
By Antonella Artuso, QMI Agency

Ontario Place is seen in this 2010 file photo.
TORONTO -- The majority of Ontario Place's attractions, including the iconic Cinesphere, have been closed permanently to allow for a revitalized tourist destination.
An advisory panel led by Conservative John Tory has been told that members can consider anything, including a waterfront casino and condos, to ensure the faded beauty by the lake starts paying her own way rather than soaking up $20 million in taxpayer's money each year.
"We're not ruling anything in or out... I'm sort of lukewarm on more casinos, frankly," Tory said. "It's got to be something that is extraordinary."
The panel will work for free and is expected to provide options by this summer.
The move means the loss of 48 permanent full-time jobs and 600 summer jobs, although the government says it will look for money to replace the lost student positions.
"It sits on some of the most valuable real estate in the country if not North America," Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said Wednesday. "However, the park does not draw enough people to its gates to keep it sustainable in its current form. The transformation of Ontario Place is also an opportunity to modernize an iconic attraction and improve the way it delivers cultural, leisure and entertainment services to Ontario families."

Duncan said the government is hoping to bring in private capital although the goal remains to keep Ontario Place open to the public.
Attendance has been dropping from a high of about 2.5 to 3 million visitors when it first opened to 563,000 last year when the facility opened its doors for free.
Fans of Ontario Place have balked at changes made there in the past -- in particular, a decision to tear down the beloved open-air, free-with-admission Forum concert hall and replace it with the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in 1994-95.
Up in the air is the fate of the Cinesphere, which looks like a giant white golf ball, and is the first permanent IMAX theatre in the world.
Tory didn't rule out re-purposing the Cinesphere, though the government says the closures are permanent.
The only facilities staying open at Ontario Place are those that make a profit, including the Molson Amphitheatre and the parking lot.
Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Chan said Ontario Place may reopen in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games, but will definitely be back in business in 2017 when the country turns 150 years old.
"A new Ontario Place will be our birthday gift to all Ontarians and Canadians," Chan said.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said he is very concerned about what the government has in mind for a beloved provincial attraction.
"Is it going to be developed into condominiums -- who knows what it's going to look like at the end," Bisson said.
Joe Halstead, chair of Ontario Place Corporation, said parents and kids will miss the activities in the short term, but he hopes there will be much more for them to do in the future.
"It is the beginning of a new Ontario Place," Halstead said.
Councillor Mark Grimes, chair of the Exhibition Place board of governors, said he and the mayor's office were surprised by the provincial announcement but he believes he can work with Tory on a plan that benefits both properties.

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