The Future of Ontario Place Project
Meet Ontario Place, a public site and Modernist masterpiece located on Toronto's waterfront which has suffered from decades of inadequate stewardship. Designed in the late 1960’s by architect Eberhard Zeidler and landscape architect Michael Hough, it embodies progressive visions which have taken multiculturalism, ecology, and architectural technology into careful consideration.
The World Monuments Fund Watch includes sites “in need of urgent or timely action." In 2020, it included endangered sites such as the Notre Dame in Paris, Easter Island, and Ontario Place. In 2018, Ontario’s Provincial Government led by Doug Ford opened the site to international development calls, with no public consultation or transparency. Ontario Place is now at risk of privatization and losing its world-renowned architectural and landscape heritage. Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, has cited the project’s key values as “nature, accessibility to the water, and profit”, failing to mention the value of the cultural assets on the site to future generations. The Province is lacking a thorough conservation management plan, leaving the door open for Ontario Place's architecture and landscape heritage to be damaged or erased.
The Future of Ontario Place Project worked to raise awareness of the site’s precarity through a Canada-wide design challenge, the consolidation of a public archive and timeline, a free symposium, a letter-writing campaign, and the collection of oral histories of the site. To learn more, visit futureofontarioplace.org
The Future of Ontario Place Project was made possible by a partnership between the World Monuments Fund, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, and Architectural Conservancy Ontario. Through a research initiative and public campaign, the Future of Ontario Place Project is working to build public knowledge of the heritage values of the site, and to imagine the future of Ontario Place as a public cultural asset for all Ontarians.
Contemporary photography and videography by Andreea Muscurel. Archival photos courtesy of Toronto Port Authority.