City council votes unanimously to add Ontario Place to Toronto's Heritage Register
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:13AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:23PM EDT
City council voted unanimously to add Ontario Place to Toronto’s Heritage Register while working towards planning for its future with the provincial government.
At Tuesday’s meeting at city hall, councillors voted 25-0 in favour of a recommendation to reach out to the Ontario government and “jointly plan” for the future of the 155-acre site.
The recommendation comes after some members of council expressed concern that the Ford government will proceed with plans to redevelop Ontario Place without consulting the municipality or Toronto residents.
The province launched a request for proposals process for the site’s development in January and on the website for that process, the Ontario government identifies areas for development as the Ontario Place islands, the adjacent mainland, the pods and the Cinesphere.
The website also notes developers can submit proposals for a section of the site or for the entire site, with one of the only exceptions being a prohibition on residential uses.
“What concerns me about the province is that they have put out to the world submit us your proposals without any criteria,” Spadina-Fort York Coun. Joe Cressy, whose ward includes the grounds of Ontario Place, said earlier this year.
“Do you need to maintain access to the waterfront? The province hasn’t said so. Do you need to ensure public access as Ontario Place is for everyone? The province hasn’t said so. Do you need to preserve some of the heritage of the Cinesphere and the pods? The province hasn’t said so.”
Speaking ahead of Tuesday's council meeting, Mayor John Tory said despite recent disagreements with the Ford government, he wants to appeal to the province to make sure Toronto has a seat at the table.
"I’ve said many times that I believe both Ontario Place and Exhibition Place need to be revitalized," Tory said. "I believe it makes sense for us to reach out to the province and to work together to develop a strategy for jointly planning the future of the two sites."