What will be the real future of Ontario Place this once iconic landmark in Toronto?
Premier Doug Ford wants to see Ontario Place redeveloped. A preservation battle over the vital piece of Canada’s postwar architectural history is looming. There are many political cronies in this city who are trying to position themselves at trying to snag this project.
This project has been smeared with all kinds of rumours and gossip about how it will be handled and what should be built there. This premier needs to be full disclosure on this roll out as it has some smell to it as you read this article, and l will try and explain what is really going on.
The former chairperson of Ontario Place Mr. Jim Ginou passed away last year and there is an opening to replace him as chair. There is a battle brewing between Paul Godfrey and a couple of high profiled names that have been tossed around as the possible candidate to fill that position. This position will have quite a bit of influence over the process and will guide and position the next group to take over.
You may ask why is Paul Godfrey lobbying so hard to get this spot?
At 80 years you would think that he should be thinking about retiring and call it a game, but that’s not in Mr. Godfrey’s DNA. Paul has always had impactable timing about what’s the biggest and most lucrative projects in this town.
The only sticking throne in Mr. Godfrey getting this role is that l don’t believe that Premier Doug Ford is comfortable with Paul leading the future way for Ontario Place. Mr. Godfrey’s biggest backer is Rod Phillips the Minister of Finance who has worked closely with Paul Godfrey over the past 15 years and will go to the wall for him. It will be very tight, but Godfrey is one guy l wont vote against not getting the next chair of Ontario Place.
The 96-acre Ontario Place park was built across three artificial islands in Lake Ontario beginning in the late 1960s under Conservative premier John Robarts. The park was intended to replace the Ontario government’s permanent exhibit at the Canadian National exhibition grounds, located just to the north, and also to continue the success and popularity of the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal.
Do not be fooled by this worldwide call for proposals that the Ford government has put out.
The call for proposals is just smoke and mirrors and the real fight is behind the scenes for control. Yes, control that ultimately will roll out a major entertainment and sport venue that will be housed at Ontario Place.
A major entertainment group the likes of Disney rolling in a sport venue into the complex is what is really what the backroom boys want and will ultimately get. The only question still to be answered is will it be Paul Godfrey at the helm or someone else that is a trusted soldier to Doug Ford.
The entire site of Ontario Place has been designated a heritage site by the City of Toronto, although that does not put any legal obstacles on development. Interesting on just how the City has left itself open with this legislation where it gives with one hand and takes with the other hand.
Either way expect a major brand name entertainment complex with a sport venue, that would possibly house the Toronto Blue Jays as their next custom home field with natural grass and an open-air concept. There will also be a new owner of the Blue Jay team, only moving out of the Rogers Centre and that possible new owner could be the likes of Larry Tanenbaum.
If we follow the money and you have some sense of the workings behind the scene this makes a lot of sense and you heard it first here.
It’s Show Time….