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Casino not among options Ford government wants for Ontario Place redevelopment

A casino will not be part of the development plans for Ontario Place, the premier’s office has confirmed to CBC News, hours before the PC government was set to hold a news conference on the fate of the provincially owned theme park.

Michael Tibollo, the minister of tourism, culture and sport and Monte McNaughton, the minister of infrastructure, began addressing the media shortly after 9 a.m. at the park.

The Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford has not said what it plans to do with the theme park. Ford asked developers to submit ideas for redevelopment back in January.

The premier’s office confirmed media reports early Tuesday that a casino will not be considered for the site.

The previous Liberal government was planning a massive public park for Ontario Place. The current PC government, however, said it wants the site to be a world-class entertainment attraction.

It’s a proposal that was met with pushback by Toronto city council. In a vote earlier this month, councillors unanimously voted to list Ontario Place on the city’s heritage property register.

The listing does not offer any legal protections under the Ontario Heritage Act and would serve mostly as a symbolic gesture that would signal that the city, which owns a portion of the land on the site, hopes to see elements of Ontario Place preserved.

Ontario Place was closed to the public in 2012 due to falling revenues and tight provincial finances. At that time, the government said annual attendance had fallen from 2.5 million when it opened in 1971 to about 300,000.

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