Speculations have been made as to the park’s fate, but topping the list of rumors has been a planned joint venture between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG) and the Ontario government to construct a casino. Before becoming premier, McGuinty’s position on the expansion of gambling within Ontario was stoically against any development. His stance has changed, however, and McGuinty is now eager to "maximize our return" on any such growth. OLG chairman Paul Godfrey has also chimed in on the matter, saying that within the next five or six years, the corporation would like to see a casino running in the GTA.
"What the Liberals fail to admit is that Ontario Place is a public space", says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "It’s up to the public to decide what happens to it. The citizens of Ontario deserve to have a say in the future of Ontario Place, and the truth is that 70 per cent of respondents on the issue do not want it to turn into a casino. McGuinty has to listen up."
The 96-acre park is an historic site located on Toronto’s waterfront, and as such represents some prime downtown real estate. Despite a $10.8 million refurbishment in 2011, it was announced on February 1, 2012 that the site would be shut down this calendar year.
"It’s time that McGuinty settle the matter for all Ontarians, and give people a clear answer," Thomas said. "Are there plans to build a casino where Ontario Place now sits?"
Laurie Miller, OPSEU Communications, 416-443-8888 x7440