Ontario Place: Tarnished waterfront jewel needs ‘wow-factor’ attractions to restore its lost lustre

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Ontario Place

Looking toward two of the suspended pavilions at Ontario Place  on September 4 2010, the last time I paid a visit to the aging waterfront theme park

 

Park over troubled waters: It struck me as a curious coincidence that stormclouds figure prominently in many of the photos I have taken of Ontario Place. After all, these are very dark and stormy times for the summertime waterfront theme park, most of which will be closed for the next five years while the Ontario government considers options for revitalizing the tired and tacky 41-year-old facility.

At the beginning of this month, the province announced that it has shuttered Ontario Place’s money-losing Cinesphere, water park and amusement rides while former politician/current  radio personality John Tory leads a team charged with investigating options for restoring the lustre to a waterfront jewel that initially drew more than 2.5 million visitors each season, but has since struggled to attract even just one-fifth that many funseekers in recent summers. In fact, the province has been losing more than $20 million annually on subsidies it provides to keep the tired and dowdy-looking park operating. Just the privately-operated Molson Amphitheatre, the Atlantis restaurant, bar and ballroom pavilions, the marina and the parking lots, the only facilities that apparently were profitable, will remain open. More than 48 full-time jobs and 600 summer positions will be lost as a result of the closure.

 

 

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