The Ontario Place Corporation, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, issued a Request for Information (RFI) yesterday to the private sector for proposals for the redevelopment of the 96-acre Toronto waterfront amusement park.
Revitalization is great, but the problem with the RFI is that it doesn't have any requirements to keep the existing structures, like the Ontario Place Cinesphere. And for something that is so iconic to Toronto and Ontario, losing the Cinesphere would be a tragedy.
Here's a link to the Official Request for Information Press Release: Ontario Place Seeks Innovative Ideas For Revitalization. And here's a link to the RFI page on the Ontario Place website: Ontario Place RFI: Ontario Place Seeks Innovative Ideas For Revitalization.
Toronto Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Candidate Joe Pantalone agrees and knows that Torontonians would fight to keep the Cinesphere.
Here's the story from the Toronto Sun:
Torontonians would fight to keep the giant, iconic Cinesphere at Ontario Place, mayoral candidate Councillor Joe Pantalone says.
While he welcomes an Ontario Place revitalization effort, Pantalone said Friday that heritage elements like the Cinesphere and pods should not be bulldozed.
“It’s totally wrong to contemplate demolishing it,” he said. “The architectural community of this city, the people who love the public realm in this city, rightly would not tolerate that and I, as a local councillor of the area, would definitely not support it, and as a mayor of Toronto, I would definitely oppose demolition.”
The province is suggesting that the new Ontario Place incorporate education, recreation, dining and entertainment elements as well as green energy, but there are no requirements that any existing structures remain on site.
Pantalone said reinvestment in Ontario Place is long overdue, as the attraction has been in decline for more than a decade now, adding little value to the city.
“I think it’s an excellent idea. It should have been done a long time ago, but the fact it’s happening now is positive,” he said. “(But) you don’t build the future by demolishing the past, especially when it comes to heritage buildings. You basically take beautiful heritage buildings and you retrofit them and you bring them into life and prosperity for the future, the way we’ve done at Exhibition Place.”
He pointed out that Ontario Place, which opened in 1971, was the work of noted architect Eb Zeidler, who also designed the Eaton Centre.
The call to make over Ontario Place came in a pivotal tourism report prepared last year by Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara.
“We believe that the revitalization of Ontario Place should be done in conjunction with the redevelopment of the surrounding area,” the report says. “The entire area should become the province’s showpiece for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.”
There must be a way to revitalize Ontario Place while enhancing the Cinesphere, not destroying it.
Speak up Toronto and Ontario! Let Dalton McGuinty and his cronies know that you want a Revitalized Ontario Place that includes the Cinesphere!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexindigo/241454511/ by alexindigo on flickr