When Ontario Place was shut down earlier this year, local politicians believed that the former amusement park should be made into a gambling complex much like the Las Vegas Strip. The idea was thrown around for the past six months, but that pipe dream will not come to fruition as a report on Ontario Place’s redevelopment does not include plans for a casino.
During Ontario Place’s peak, the amusement park brought in 2.5 million visitors each summer. Over the course of the past decade, attendance declined and just 500 000 people visited the park in 2011. Now, the province is looking for ways to revitalize the area, and MP John Tory has published a report that suggests the best course of action.
The report states that Ontario Place should be made into a multi-functional entertainment complex that is free to the public. Tory would like to see the area filled with restaurants, bars and concert venues which can be enjoyed all year round – whereas Ontario Place was only open during the summer. The new complex would appeal to residents and tourists of all ages, rather than those looking for some family-fun throughout July and August.
While it sounds like a great idea, it has been met with some resistance. Since the report suggests that 15% of the property be set aside for condo development, many politicians believe that it would make the complex exclusive only to those who can afford million-dollar waterfront condos.
Some politicians are disappointed to see that the former Ontario Place grounds will not become a gambling complex. Mayor Rob Ford was set on the idea, hoping to generate millions of dollars in gambling revenue. Las Vegas-based gambling giants were even interested in working with the new development; however, those dreams have been squashed. Ford will have to find another desirable location for the new GTA casino. He is currently eyeing Exhibition Place, but the idea has also met with some resistance.