The CANADIAN PRESS
Hundreds of Toronto residents showed up to a public meeting on Saturday, to have their say about a proposed redevelopment that could include moving the Ontario Science Centre from Scarborough to Ontario Place on the city’s waterfront.
Opponents say a plan by Therme to build a spa on the Ontario Place site would block public access to the area.
Premier Doug Ford hinted Thursday that an announcement is imminent on moving the Ontario Science Centre from east Toronto to the downtown site of Ontario Place.
“I personally think it’s a great idea, but if I told you now, my minister of infrastructure would shoot me on the spot,” he joked Thursday when asked about the prospect at an unrelated press conference.
“So can you stay tuned till next week, but I think it’s a fabulous idea and there’s a tremendous opportunity … I think you know where we’re going on that.”
The redevelopment of the Ontario Place site on Toronto’s waterfront has been in the works for years, with European company Therme Group set to build a spa and waterpark and Live Nation set to build an outdoor concert venue.
Ford has been facing criticism over the Therme plans, with opposition politicians and community advocates saying a private spa doesn’t fit with the park’s initial vision as a public space.
Ontario Place, which first opened in 1971, was closed to the public in 2012 after years of financial losses.
Several Toronto mayoral candidates have weighed in on the future of Ontario Place during the city’s ongoing byelection campaign, with Ana Bailao in favour of the proposal to move the Ontario Science Centre there, and Josh Matlow saying he would not sell the portion of city-owned land on the Ontario Place site needed for the spa.
Ford said the science centre “really needs to be revamped,” and suggested he’s eyeing its current site for housing.
“There’s a lot of high rises, density around that whole area,” he said. “I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to create some attainable homes and affordable, non-profit homes in that region if we decide to go down that route.”
Ford also noted that his government’s Ontario Line transit project – part subway, part above ground – is set to extend from Ontario Place to the current Ontario Science Centre site.