One of Ontario’s most famous landmarks is closing.
Ontario Place will shut down for five years, to be transformed “into an innovative provincial landmark,” according to its website.
The attraction opened in 1971; at the time, it cost $29 million. It was created by the Ontario government to help revitalize the city’s lakefront area. Ontario Place is located downtown, on the shores of Lake Ontario.
The provincial government built Ontario Place as a family-friendly amusement park for Torontonians and as a way to attract more tourists to the city.
Ontario Place is made up of three artificial islands. The park has many attractions including waterslides, a children’s village, water attractions like bumper boats, an outdoor grandstand for music concerts, and walking trails.
Perhaps the most iconic symbol of Ontario Place is its enormous white dome, called the Cinesphere, which houses a movie theatre.
In the 1970s, Ontario Place was in its heyday, attracting more than 2.5 million visitors a year. In the last few years, attendance has sunk as low as 300,000 visitors a year. With so few visitors, the park is simply too expensive to maintain. The cost of keeping it running is too high compared with the money it brings in from ticket sales.
The provincial government has created a committee to come up with new ideas for the park, in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
All Ontario Place facilities will be closed except for the boat marina, the Molson Amphitheatre (concert venue), the Atlantis entertainment venue and the parking lots.