The future of the site remains unclear, however, as the government is currently looking to redevelop the grounds. A call for private development proposals was made earlier this year.
“While we keep one eye on the long-term development of the Ontario Place site, our government is also working to help people reconnect with this iconic piece of property on Toronto’s Waterfront,” said a statement from Ford.
The deal means that between 80 and 90 Cirque shows will be held at Ontario Place.
“We are excited to bring back a Cirque du Soleil touring show to Ontario Place; an important location for Ontario residents renowned for its large-scale entertainment events,” said Finn Taylor, senior vice president of touring shows at Cirque du Soleil.
The Montreal-based company has previously staged productions on the site, including ‘Corteo’ in 2005.
“Partnering with an organization like Cirque du Soleil will reinvigorate a space that has been neglected and under-utilized,” Tourism Minister Michael Tibollo said.
Plans to overhaul the 155 acres of land has not come without controversy.
In an interview with Global News Radio, Ford side-stepped a question about the potential for a casino on the site saying “what we’re open to is ideas from around the world to make it an unbelievable destination and event centre, that’s what we’re looking for… we’re going to be very open minded.”
The premier added that while most options for the site are on the table, a housing development is not.
“I’ll tell you what we aren’t going to have down there, we’re not going to have, like the previous plan, a bunch of condominiums down there. We have enough condos throughout the city.”
Suzanne Kavanagh with the group ‘Ontario Place for All’ said, “there has been some really great planning work on Ontario Place in recent years and opening the park up for private sector bids throws all that planning out the window.”
While historically significant, structures on the land such as the iconic Cinesphere are not protected and could possibly be torn down depending on the final plan.