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Urban park and waterfront trail planned for Ontario Place

TORONTO – The province plans to build an urban park and waterfront trail as part of a new revamped Ontario Place, announced Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport on Wednesday morning.

No details were released on the cost of the new 7.5 acres of greenspace. A competitive bid process is set to get underway later this summer.

Last year, the Liberal government endorsed all 18 recommendations made by a provincial advisory panel on the future of the past tourist hot spot.

The advisory group, headed by former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory, proposed putting private residences, commercial space, a hotel and a research facility at the site on the Toronto waterfront.

Tory recommended that most of the site be public, saying a maximum of 15 per cent of it should be residential and that city council should resist developers’ higher-density projects.

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It’s not certain whether the Cinesphere and pod structures will be preserved as recommended by the advisory report.

The construction of a casino where Ontario Place currently sits has been ruled out.

The government closed the attraction last summer after saying it couldn’t afford to keep the park open.

Annual attendance had dropped to about 300,000 from the 2.5 million who visited when the park opened in 1971.

The goal is to complete the revitalization by 2017.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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