Exhibition Place (owned by the City) and Ontario Place (owned by the Province) sit on 347 acres of publicly owned land—land which is drastically underutilized for parkland and other community-based purposes.
Increasingly, these areas are being directed towards private interests in ways that exclude public access and other public benefits.
For example, in 2006, the majority of Exhibition Place was converted from Parks and Open Space Lands to Regeneration Lands, encouraging development and allowing 21+ year leases and even sale of the lands. Keep reading for other worrisome developments, all of which have occurred without any meaningful public consultation.
We need to regain public control of and public access to these lands, before it's too late.
Toronto needs public space. Intensification in the West End has brought 30,000 new people to Liberty Village, Parkdale and the Queen West Triangle—none of which have any substantive park or green space.
Exhibition Place and Ontario Place were created as permanent parklands for hosting public-oriented cultural and exhibition/fairground events. The guiding mandate of Exhibition Place, for example, was to promote agriculture, industry and arts/crafts, and to focus on culture and entertainment with an educational bent—hence the numerous heritage buildings showcasing horticulture, art, and so on.
In part as a result of financial difficulties with both Exhibition Place and Ontario Place, the traditional mandates have been ignored, and in recent years a huge push towards private use and control of these lands has occurred.
Several initiatives at Exhibition Place have put this public space in the hands of private developers and corporations and Ontario Place recently approved RFPs for the both the West and East Islands. These initiatives have not involved any meaningful public consultation.
Click on the links below for details.
Pressure from local groups such as the West Side Community Council have created the initiation of a master plan for Exhibition Place. But that's just the beginning.
What can we do?
Keep public lands in public hands
Reclaiming our Western Waterfront Parks