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Architectural Conservancy Ontario

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Architectural Conservancy Ontario

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Ontario Place; The Pods

LAST UPDATE: November 4 2020

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photo credit, courtesy of Bob Krawczyk

photo credit, courtesy of Bob Krawczyk

AT RISK INFORMATION
At risk status:
This building is at risk

Info:

Watch The History of Ontario Place, a new video exploring the architecture of Ontario Place, brought to you by ACO Toronto and Old Toronto Series.

Concerns about the future of Ontario Place have re-emerged early in 2019 after Jim Ginou, re-appointed board chair of Ontario Place, stated: “There is nothing that can be saved. Because it has to be rebuilt, it can be rebuilt in any way that [Doug] Ford wants it to be rebuilt.”

Mid-January 2018: The Provincial government opened the site to international proposals for redevelopment. The guidelines dictate that the land will not be sale but available for long-term lease. Other restrictions include no residential development and a requirement to keep 7.5 acres (of the site´s total 155 acres) of park land. Proposals can incorporate part or all of the space (except for the Budweiser Stage), putting the Pods at risk.

May 28, 2019: Michael Tibollo (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport) made an announcement at Ontario Place, re-opening the global call for submissions to develop the Ontario Place site. Minister Tibollo referred to Ontario Place as a ´diamond in the rough´ and outlined a vision to revive the site into a destination for locals, Canadians, and tourists. Minister Tibollo reassured that this redevelopment would not include residential units or casinos. The deadline for proposals is September 3, 2019. The Call for Development informational package posted to ontarioplacedevelopment.com outline that the majority of the Ontario Place site is open to redevelopment: "The areas available for development include the entirety of the East Island, the West Island, the mainland, the pod complex, and the Cinesphere cinema. There are no limitations on the use and / or retention of existing assets on Site, with the exception of the Budweiser Stage, as set out below." When asked whether the construction could impact the Cinesphere, Minister Tibollo reiterated that all options are on the table. This means that the architecture and landscape architecture of the site is still at risk of demolition and redevelopment. At the announcement, there was no mention of the City of Toronto Council approving the addition of Ontario Place to the Heritage Property Register earlier in May. 

July 8 2019: John Alschuler, Chairman of HR&H Advisors in NYC, has helped develop waterfront plans for cities around the world. He spoke with CBC Metro Morning´s Matt Galloway about Ontario Place and approaches to its redevelopment ahead of a meeting in Toronto with City officials and experts to discuss the future of the site.

October 29 2019: Ontario Place is one of 25 sites added to the World Monuments Fund's 2020 World Monuments Watch list of at-risk sites of historical significance. ACO's Bill Greaves made the nomination. See Ontario Place's listing here.

View sources at the bottom of this page for more information and articles about the threat to Ontario Place. Slides from Ken Greenberg´s Alternative Futures: Ontario Place and Exhibition Place Ambitions and Vulnerabilities presentation at the Rally for Ontario Place (January 12, 2019) can be viewed through this link.

BUILDING INFORMATION
Name & Location
Ontario Place; The Pods
5 Burnfield Avenue Lake Shore Boulevard West
Niagara, Toronto

OTHER IDENTIFICATION
Awards:

1969: Canadian Architect Award

  • Award of Excellence.

1999: Ontario Association of Architects Awards

  • 25-Year Award.

 

Alternate names:
Atlantis Pavilions; The Pavilion; Pavilion Pods

Notes:

The Pavilion, commonly known as the Pods, comprises of five mast-hung, steel and alumnium pods that are suspended over the water and connected by walkways. They were originally used to host an exhibit about Ontario, but were designed to adapt to different functions. Until 2017, the Pods hosted a wedding event venue \"Atlantis.\"

Ontario Place was a project designed to revitalize Toronto\'s waterfront. The site consisted of over 90 acres of artifically-made islands and lagoons. A break-water was formed using sunken ships. 

The Atlantis Pavilions won a Canadian Architect Award Excellence in 1969, and a 25-Year Award from the Ontario Association of Architects in 1999. In 2017, the Pods, along with Cinesphere, received the Prix du XXe Siècle from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the National Trust. 

Ontario Place was designated a structure of Cultural Heritage Value in 2014 by the province of Ontario. This desingation reflects both the context of the complex\'s construction and its design. The complex is an excellent example of modern expressionism in Ontario, notably the geometric design of the Cinesphere and Pods.

On May 14, 2019, Toronto City Council carried a motion to include Ontairo Place on the Heritage Property Register. 

On October 29, 2019 it was placed on the World Monuments Fund 2020 Watch list

Status:
Completed

Year Completed:
1971

Map:
Loading Map

Companies:
The following companies are associated with this building
  • Architect - Craig Zeidler Strong Architects  <-- More buildings by this architect.
  • Landscape architect - Hough-Stansbury Associates
  • Mechanical engineer - W. Hardy Craig & Associates Ltd.
  • Structural engineer - Gordon Dowdell & Associates Ltd.

BUILDING DATA
Type:
Low-rise

Current use:
Cultural

Heritage:
Listed

Main Style:
Mid century expressionist   <--  More buildings in this style.

Sources:

Sources

  1. Canadian Architect
    Date - 1969 Yearbook
    Page - 38-39

  2. Canadian Architect
    Date - August 1971
    Page - 43-45

  3. Canadian Architect
    Date - June 1971
    Page - 38-48

  4. Perspectives (OAA Newsletter)
    Date - Summer 1999
    Page - 30

  5. The Globe and Mail
    Date - November 26, 2005
    Page - M6
    Notes - Chosen by Michael Prokopow as a building to preserve.

  6. Toronto Society of Architects Guide Map 1953-2003

  7. Ontario Place Cinesphere and Pods and CN Tower receive 2017 Prix du XXe siècle
    Author - Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
    Notes - Details about 2017 award
    More information

  8. Statement of Cultural Heritage Value
    Author - Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport
    Notes - Web-archived version of webpage taken down in January 2019  
    More information

  9. Ontario Place Moves Forward with Vision to Revitalize Historic West Island Pavilion Pods
    Author - Ontario Place
    Date - January 5, 2018
    More information

  10. Ontario Place
    Author - Zeidler Architects
    Notes - Project details for the construction of Ontario Place by Craig, Zeidler and Strong
    More information

  11. 1970 Construction Photograph
    Author - Toronto Public Library
    Notes - Source for photograph
    More information

  12. 1971 Aerial Photograph Source
    Author - Toronto Public Library
    More information

  13. ‘Nothing can be saved’ at Ontario Place? That’s simply not true
    Author - Edward Keenan
    Date - January 8, 2019
    Notes - Toronto Star article about the threats to Ontario Place 
    More information

  14. Revitalize Ontario Place but don’t raze it, residents say at rally for waterfront park
    Author - Wendy Gillis
    Date - January 12, 2019
    Notes - Toronto Star article about the public´s reaction to threats facing Ontario Place 
    More information

  15. Ontario Place must remain ‘family friendly’ and accessible to all, experts say. Here are their ideas
    Author - David Rider
    Date - January 11, 2019
    Notes - Toronto Star article about threats to Ontario Place
    More information

  16. From the beginning, Ontario Place was about the future
    Author - Jennifer Pagliaro
    Date - January 12, 2019
    Notes - Toronto Star article detailing the context of the construction of Ontario Place, in light of recent (Jan. 2019) threats to the site.  
    More information

  17. On the Ontario Place for Canada´s Centennial Project
    Author - Eberhard Zeidler
    Date - April 22, 2017
    Notes - Ontario Place architect Eb Zeidler speaks about the original vision for Ontario Place, the Centennial project he designed.Link to video recording of the talk in ´More Information´. Slides from the talk in pdf form. 
    Document - Eb Zeidler- Ontario Place slides
    More information

  18. Ontario Place Cinesphere, pods could be demolished under Ford government plan
    Author - David Rider
    Date - January 18, 2019
    Notes - Toronto Star article about the opening of the site to international proposals
    More information

  19. Ontario Place (2019 Redevelopment Bid)
    Author - Province of Ontario
    Date - January 18, 2019
    Notes - Ontario website about the call for bids for the site´s redevelopment
    More information

  20. Ontario Place: Statement of Cultural Heritage
    Author - Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport
    Date - circa 2017
    Notes - Statement of Cultural Value of Ontario Place, developed by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport to guide the province in any process of change or conservation of the property. "Ontario Place is a cultural heritage landscape of provincial significanc
    Document - Statement of Cultural Value of Ontario Place

  21. Alternative Futures: Ontario Place and Exhibition Place Ambitions and Vulnerabilities
    Author - Ken Greenberg
    Date - January 12, 2019
    Notes - This slide presentation was delivered at the Rally for Ontario Place, held January 12, 2019 at Metro Hall, attended by approximately 500 people. 
    Document - 81900043e6ccb24cbe907f6acd2cdcbb.pdf

  22. DTAH-Designed Celebration Common Coming to Ontario Place
    Author - Urban Toronto
    Date - May 2, 2018
    Notes - May 2, 2018 9:30 am | by Jack Landau | 2 Comments


    Back in February, it was announced that Toronto architecture firm DTAH had been awarded the contract to design Celebration Common, a 20-acre flexible green space planned as part of the ongoing Ontario
    More information

  23. DTAH-Designed Celebration Common Coming to Ontario Place
    Author - Jack Landau, Urban Toronto
    Date - May 2, 2018
    Notes -

    Back in February, it was announced that Toronto architecture firm DTAH had been awarded the contract to design Celebration Common, a 20-acre flexible green space planned as part of the ongoing Ontario Place revitalization project. On Tuesday, Daiene V
    More information

  24. Statement of Cultural Heritage Value
    Author - Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
    Date - April 28, 2010
    Notes - Standards and guideliens set out by the provincial government in 2010 regarding the provincially owned heritage properties.  
    Document - Standards & Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties

  25. Can Ontario Place be saved from Doug Ford?
    Author - Richard Longley
    Date - January 18, 2019
    Notes - Now Toronto article about the threat to Ontario Place and if and how it can be saved
    More information

  26. Promotional video for Ontario Place (1971)
    Author - Ontario Department of Trade and Development
    Date - 1971
    Notes - YouTube video uploaded by the Archives of Ontario. Promotional video for Ontario Place documenting the history and construction of Ontario Place, along with its facilities and attractions.
    More information

  27. Theme From Ontario Place (B-Side)
    Notes - YouTube video. The B-side to a single produced by Government of Ontario to promote Ontario Place.
     
    More information

  28. Dolores Claman´s Theme From Ontario Place 1970s (A-Side)
    Notes - YouTube video. A-Side of a single produced for promoting Ontario Place, with promitional video footage.
    More information

  29. Cirque du Soleil coming to Ontario Place this fall
    Author - Robert Benzie
    Date - February 11, 2019
    Notes - Toronto Star article announcing that Cirque du Soleil will be performing 80-90 shows at Ontario Place starting at the end of summer 2019.  Article quotes Doug Ford, who claims that this is a step to "bring family-oriented entertainment and excitement
    More information

  30. Ontario Place Statement by MPP Adam Vaughan
    Author - Adam Vaughan
    Date - February 6, 2019
    Notes - Statement by MPP Adam Vaughan to the Speaker about the need to keep Ontario Place as a place for all. 
    More information

  31. The History of Ontario Place
    Author - ACO Toronto & Old Ontario Place Series
    Date - 7 March 2019
    More information

  32. Inclusion on the City of Toronto´s Heritage Register
    Author - City of Toronto
    Date - April 12, 2019
    Notes - Recommendation by Heritage Preservation Services to place Ontario Place on the Heritage Register. 
    Document - Inclusion on the City of Toronto´s Heritage Register –955 Lake Shore Boulevard West (Ontario Place)
    More information

  33. Toronto staff recommends listing Ontario Place on city´s heritage register
    Author - Lucas Powers; CBC News
    Date - 20 April 2019
    More information

  34. Ontario Place: Building On Our Legacy
    Author - Helena Grdadolnik
    Date - May 8, 2019
    Notes - "Toronto’s iconic Ontario Place is up for redevelopment. Is there a better alternative to tearing it down and starting afresh?" Article in the May 2019 issue of Canadian Architect (https://www.canadianarchitect.com/). 
    Document - Ontario Place: Building On Our Legacy
    More information

  35. Toronto Waterfront Opportunity: Ontario Place Call for Development
    Author - Government of Ontario
    Date - May 28, 2019
    Notes - On May 28, 2019 the Ontario Government re-released their Call for Development of the Ontario Place site. The attached document is the information is the Call for Development informational package. 
    Document - Toronto Waterfront Opportunity: Ontario Place Call for Development
    More information

  36. Expert advice on what to keep at Ontario Place
    Author - Matt Galloway, CBC Metro Morning
    Date - 8 July 2019
    Notes - John Alschuler, Chairman of HR&H Advisors in NYC, has helped develop waterfront plans for cities around the world. He´s in Toronto to meet with City officials and experts to discuss the future of Ontario Place.
    More information

  37. 2020 World Monuments Watch
    Author - World Monuments Fund
    Date - 29 October 2019
    Notes - When it opened in 1971, Ontario Place gave Toronto’s citizens the opportunity to experience the city’s waterfront like they never had before. Creating a new urban amenity was envisioned as a celebration of Ontario’s cultural and economic
    More information

  38. Ontario Place added to international list of ‘at-risk cultural heritage sites’
    Author - David Rider, Toronto Star
    Date - 29 October 2019
    More information

  39. They Designed Ontario Place
    Author - Peterborough Examiner
    Date - Saturday May 22, 1971
    Notes -

    News paper article in the Peterborough Examiner about Ontario Place


    Document - PeterboroughExaminer_22May1971

  40. Breaking The Building Mould
    Author - Pat Johnson
    Date - Tuesday May 26, 1970
    Page - 24
    Notes -

    Article in The Telegram about Ontario Place


    Document - The Telegram_26May1970

  41. The Future of Ontario Place: Towards an Inclusive Preservation Dialogue
    Author - Aziza Chaouni, William Greaves, and Javier Ors Ausín, Azure Magazine
    Date - 9 October 2020
    More information

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