Hey, it was good for selling Labatt 50!
Let's not forget the theme song...everyone sing along now
Finally. So happy that now there's a mission critical need to get that much needed revitalization going. Let's not forget that plans were announced for a full revitalization over a year ago. I remember listening to Tory and Stafford shows talking about what Ontario place meant and what needed to be done to get it back to its 1970's glory days. It was cool hearing all the retro radio commercials.
Now that they are forced to do something, it's great that the task force has finally been announced. A terrific choice in John Tory and thankfully he's come back after we've kicked him to the curb so many times in politics.
Let's not forget, Ontario Place was never an amusement park. It was an still is like an an old fashion "expo" type showcase for Ontario that hasn't kept up with the times. There really is nothing left there. The only difference from when I was a kid was the Lego pavilion and video games pavilion, which were really cool. Also a few restaurants and more people being there. Tearing down the Forum took out its heart. The place was literally left to hollow out and die.
The Forum was a great outdoor venue that brought people into the park at all hours of operation as it was centrally located. It was easy to spend money at the restaurants and outlets when you walked by and saw them. The Molson Amphitheatre was built and took people away from needing to go inside Ontario Place and even from Kingswood at Wonderland.
The water park is still a major draw but not enough to sustain the entire place. The flume is fantastic. The Cinesphere was amazing and was a huge draw, but why go to a very run down Imax theatre where so many new ones have been built? The silos that once or may still show Ontario 16mm films about Ontario Pulp and Paper sure wouldn't be a draw today.
The place is temporarily closing because the attendance doesn't support the operating costs, especially since the province is in greater debt than the Bob Rae days, which no one thought would ever be possible again.
They will conduct this task force, which will result in nothing until we have enough money to do something (maybe through a PPP?) But at least they are doing something. The property is phenomenal and I think has the potential to become a modern showcase for Ontario again. Modelling it after say, an Epcot, would make total sense. Atlantis pavilion will stay. Cinesphere will stay but will be upgraded and renovated. The water park and flume will stay but be refurbished or upgraded--they actually bring people in.
The revitalization task force will hopefully bring a consensus on what to add to bring more people back -- new restaurants, maybe a hotel, modern pavilions, new attractions at the silos, etc. Maybe re-building something like the Forum for local or cultural performances. It was great at drawing people in during late hours as well as during the day. Wonderland changed Kingswood into more cultural and foreign language concerts to make it viable again after the Amphitheatre took away all the headliners. Ontario Place was apparently a huge night spot/ clubbing area a long time ago. Maybe it could be again since condo development is hollowing out the Entertainment district downtown. Funny, since the Entertainment District took away all the nightlife from the Airport strip and Ontario Place to begin with.
I think the casino is being considered for the Ex grounds?
Let's hope for the best