The Ontario government announced a search for international partners to help redevelop 48-year-old Ontario Place on Tuesday, and also confirmed that a casino will not be built on the grounds.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Tibollo said in a press conference that the next step in the transformation of Ontario Place is looking for development concepts from private-sector global partners to bring the site to life.
“We’ll consider a broad range of ideas from sport and entertainment landmarks to public spaces and parks, recreational facilities and retail,” Tibollo said.
“But, I want to be clear our vision for Ontario Place does not include residential development or casinos.”
The announcement comes after Premier Doug Ford asked for proposal ideas to be submitted in January with a deadline of Sept. 3. Guidelines for the proposals at that time had said the government would not consider a residential development.
WATCH: Ford government looking for global partners to redevelop Ontario Place
The government said it wants to make the space that first opened May 1971 an impressive attraction.
The park was closed in 2012 due to falling revenues and tight provincial finances. At that time, the Liberal government said attendance had fallen from 2.5 million when the park opened in 1971 to about 300,000.
Various proposals have been floated since its closure, including a year-round waterpark with a retractable roof, a casino complex and hotel, as well as residential development.
WATCH: Ford government says Ontario Place will not be turned into a casino
The previous Liberal government had sought development proposals with the stipulation that there be no casino on the property, but the current parameters don’t rule one out.
Trillium Park was opened at Ontario Place in 2017. The park connects to the city by way of the William G. Davis recreational trial, named after the premier at the time Ontario Place first opened.
— With files from The Canadian Press