ABOVE: A new water park could be coming to the GTA, and it will be open 356 days a year. Alan Carter reports.
TORONTO – Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly says a theme park designed to offer summer 365 days a year is a “terrific” idea, but right now it’s just an idea.
The 9,300-square-metre attraction would offer sandy beaches, wave pools, cabanas, restaurants, lazy rivers, vendors and live entertainment and would be equipped with a retractable roof, allowing it to operate every day of the year.
Developers want to get the $60-million indoor-outdoor complex up and running by the fall of 2016, but Kelly’s comments suggest there are more hurdles to clear before ground can be broken.
Kelly says he talked with the proponents in January and their ideal locations are either Exhibition Place or Ontario Place, which are on the same stretch of Toronto’s lake front.
Kelly says a “considerable amount of land” would be needed for the park and he’s not sure there is room at Exhibition Place and Live Nation has the lease on Ontario Place, so a deal would have to be struck with that company before plans could be brought to the province or the city.
Developers say apart from the new Ripley’s Aquarium, there haven’t been any new major attractions in the Greater Toronto Area since Canada’s Wonderland opened more than 30 years ago, so this park is designed to fill a void in the area’s tourism market.
WATCH: Hear the “pitch” for a new theme park in Toronto directly from the men who are behind the idea
Councillor Doug Ford also said he supports the theme park and would prefer to see it located at the Port Lands.
“Absolutely the Port Lands. It’s not even Doug Ford that says this,” Ford told reporters Tuesday. “It’s some of the most valuable property in the country.”
The developers of the MarbleLive project say they’re in talks with officials in Mississauga and Toronto, looking for a location that offers the easiest access for tourists and is also an ideal site for local residents.
“We’re trying to build a crown jewel so the location really matters,” said Toronto entrepreneur John Barrack, a managing partner of MarbleLive.
“After you go through the winter that we just went through you realize that you really need to give people of all ages something to do in the winter,” said Barrack.
Mark Bishop, a co-CEO at MarbleLive, said their research has found that Canadians are looking for more things to do in their own backyards.
“The challenge we face as people who live in this area (GTA) is that there really isn’t a lot to do,” said Bishop.
They expect the theme park would employ 230 full-time personnel and attract more than 500,000 visitors within its first year of operation.
– With files from Global News