Richard Nelson

Smitherman to Toronto: Let’s Take Back Our Waterfront!

In Toronto politics on 2010 September 3 Friday at 19:48:50

I’m a fan of George Smitherman – indeed, I expect to vote for him come election day – but I hate to see him going down the politically easy but (in my view) expensive and pointless path of talking up regeneration of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place.

The one new thing he suggests is institutionally merging the two Places. But he doesn’t address two sad realities: Ontario Place has been losing money for years; and Exhibition Place (which for most of its history was more euphoniously called Exhibition Park) has also been losing its way for years, several of its grand old buildings badly underused, or converted to non-Exhibition uses.

I’m as certain as I can be about such a thing that the best fate for Ontario Place is demolition. About Exhibition Park, er, Place, I’m admittedly less certain. But I am certain that spending money to find a use for the property is not a good use for public funds. Most of the proposals floated seem rather along the lines that, Gee, we ought to do something cool with that big property walking distance from downtown.

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