According to the provincial government’s website, the Ontario Line will extend 15.6 km from the site of the current Ontario Science Centre to Exhibition Station.
However, Ontario Place is approximately a four-minute drive, or a 20-minute walk from Exhibition Station.
In an email to Global News, Dakota Brasier, a spokesperson for Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, said the alignment for the Ontario Line has not changed, adding that it starts at Exhibition Station “with platforms at grade to allow for a cross-platform interchange with GO.”
“It goes underground just west of Strachan Avenue and continues east,” Brasier wrote.
According to Brasier, the ministry is “examining a number of potential solutions to better connect customers to Ontario Place from Exhibition Station.”
Brasier said some of the options include connections to the subway by “automated people mover, cable cars, or other modes.”
Brasier said as the “project progresses” and plans are “further refined,” the government will “share further details as they become available.”
Matti Siemiatycki is the director of the Infrastructure Institute and professor of geography and planning at the University of Toronto.
He said there is a “need to be able to connect” the Ontario Line to Ontario Place.
“That location, where the line is going to end still does leave some distance to Ontario Place,” he said. “And if major attractions are going to be going in there with large numbers of people – and encouraging them to get there by transit is important – then there is going to have to be a connection.”
Siemiatycki said, though, that doing so will be “complicated.”
“That connection is complicated by the fact that you have the exhibition there, and you also have Lakeshore that has to be navigated as well,” he said. “So this is going to take some degree of creativity, whether it’s going over with a cable car type of system or some other way. But this is going to need creativity and it’s going to add cost as well.”
Siemiatycki said the connection has to be done “seamlessly” and it must be “convenient and efficient.”
Siemiatycki said the provincial government will be building a “giant parking lot at Ontario Place,” expecting that many people will travel to the attraction by car.
“We know that Lake Shore is already congested and so is the Gardiner,” he said. “So it’s key that transit is a viable option if this is going to be an attraction that really is sustainable and equitable, people have to be able to get there conveniently and quickly and reliably by public transit, so there are big decisions that are coming forward in the days and months and years ahead.”
– With files from Matt Carty