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John Tory thinks there should be condos at Ontario Place (but not too many)

(Image: Danielle Scott)

Though the creep of condo towers across Toronto can feel inexorable, John Tory is insisting that Ontario Place could accomodate residential development without becoming home to a “wall of high-rise condos” (or a casino, either). Since February, the former Progressive Conservative leader has been heading an advisory panel tasked with figuring out what the heck to do with the down-at-heels amusement park, and yesterday, he released his final report (pdf), which describes a vibrant, multi-use public space with a Forum-like music venue. Here are the highlights from the report:

• The most contentious suggestion is that a small portion—about 10 to 15 per cent of the 40 hectares—should be set aside for residential development. While Tory specifically warned against an unwelcoming barricade of towers, he said the site is “underutilized,” and development wouldn’t detract from its use as an urban park. NDPer Rosario Marchese, the MPP for the area, said that proposal is tantamount to selling off Ontario Place to the highest bidders. “It will be a private space for millionaires,” he warned.

• The site should generate revenue through concerts and theatre performances in a new venue similar to the Forum, which was demolished in 1994 to make room for the Molson Amphitheatre.

• The new multi-use complex, including the concert venue, should be open year-round, not just in the summer.

• The designs should try to incorporate the iconic/bizarre Cinesphere and pods.

• The public areas of the complex should be free. “We see Ontario Place as a new public backyard for all Ontarians,” Tory said.

• Turn Ontario Place into multi-use complex, report urges [Globe and Mail]
• Sell off chunk of Ontario Place to developers, maybe for condos: John Tory [National Post]
Ontario Place Revitalization: Minister’s Advisory Panel Report [Government of Ontario]