1. What construction activities are currently underway at Ontario Place? What is the full scope?
Commencing spring 2022, a team will be on site to begin repairs on the PODs, the Cinepshere and bridges. The work involves repairs to structural elements, including the tension cables, roof, and stairs, as well as repairs to exterior cladding and providing new lighting and exterior paint.
Commencing in early 2023, a comprehensive program to renew all services at Ontario Place will begin to ensure continued operation of existing attractions and prepare for redevelopment. The scope of work will include the decommissioning and removal of out-of-date servicing infrastructure and replacement with new infrastructure that meets current standards and codes.
The existing site services at Ontario Place were installed over 40 years ago. They are at their end of life and no longer meet current standards. Services in need of replacement include water, sewer, gas, and electrical systems. The project is currently in the design phase. Detailed planning is underway, including consultation with key stakeholders and authorities having jurisdiction (like Toronto Water, Hydro, etc.).
A Category B Environmental Assessment (EA) under the Public Works Class EA process is currently underway for the proposed site servicing upgrades, which includes consultation, streamlined documentation, and mandatory public Notice of Completion. This Class EA started in October of 2021 and will be available for public review in spring 2022.
2. How does this construction fit in with the overall redevelopment of the Ontario Place site?
On July 30, 2021, the Ontario government announced three public-sector partners that will help deliver on the province’s commitment to redeveloping Ontario Place into an exciting, inclusive and family-friendly experience that will serve both as a tourism destination and a display of Ontario’s strong cultural identity.
The site will attract local, provincial, and international visitors — with landmarks such as sports and entertainment attractions, recreational facilities, and retail. These landmarks will be complemented by upgraded park spaces and a new public realm experience.
The Ontario government is working with Infrastructure Ontario to prepare the site for redevelopment, prevent further deterioration of existing buildings and is committed to repairing and updating existing infrastructure so that it is safe and efficient and can support future development.
3. What is the government doing to protect the heritage associated with the PODs and Cinesphere?
The province is committed to protecting the heritage of the Cinesphere and POD complex and is currently exploring opportunities for their reuse in the redeveloped Ontario Place. Most PODs have been vacant for decades and need extensive interior and exterior renovation. Maintenance and repair work is planned to stabilize and prevent further deterioration of the Cinesphere, PODs and adjacent bridges while the redevelopment project progresses.
An experienced team, Elite Construction, has been retained to commence repair work in spring 2022, which will focus on the exterior of the pods and Cinesphere. An independent cultural heritage expert, Stevens Burgess Architects has also been retained to ensure the work is sensitive and appropriate given that these structures and features are heritage attributes. A natural heritage consultant is also advising the government and construction team on how to ensure that wildlife in these areas are protected and any impacts are lawfully mitigated.
There may be some restrictions to public access around these buildings and structures during the work, which should continue throughout 2022 and 2023, but efforts will be made to minimize disruptions where possible.
4. How long will construction take? Will it affect access to the Ontario Place site?
Construction work (repairs) on the Cinesphere, PODs and adjacent bridges is anticipated to continue throughout 2022 and 2023. There may be some restrictions to public access around these features during the work, but efforts will be made to minimize disruptions where possible.
If you would like more information or have additional questions, please visit engageontarioplace.ca