Ontario Place is recognized by the Province as a “Provincial Heritage Property of Provincial Significance”. The property has also been listed on the City of Toronto’s Municipal Heritage Register. The Ontario government is undertaking all necessary heritage assessments and approvals to conserve and manage the cultural heritage value or interest of Ontario Place, including, but not limited to, retaining and restoring the Pod complex and the Cinesphere.

Illustration of cinesphere

Key Objectives include:

  • Redevelop Ontario Place, while continuing to respect and conserve the cultural heritage value or interest of Ontario Place.
How is heritage being protected?

As a “Provincial Heritage Property of Provincial Significance,” Ontario Place is subject to the Ontario Heritage Act and the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties (S&Gs).  In 2013, the Deputy Minister of the then Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport approved the Statement of Cultural Heritage Value (SCHV) for Ontario Place. The SCHV summarizes the heritage value of Ontario Place and identifies the heritage attributes of the property.  As per the S&Gs, the Province will complete the following documents and processes to help guide the conservation of the cultural heritage value of Ontario Place through the redevelopment process:

  • A Strategic Conservation Plan (SCP) has been developed and approved for Ontario Place. The SCP provides guidance on conserving, maintaining and managing change on the property.
  • The preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) will be required for government and tenants prior to any redevelopment. A HIA will be prepared when an activity is proposed for a provincial heritage property that may affect its cultural heritage value or interest and/or heritage attributes. The Ontario Place HIA will recommend options to mitigate impacts on a site’s heritage features. 
  • The SCP and HIAs support provincial heritage approvals, City of Toronto planning applications and the Environmental Assessment. Independent qualified heritage person(s) must be consulted for both government and tenant design teams with regard to all construction and redevelopment work. Consultation with Indigenous communities, stakeholders, and the public is required for both the SCP and HIA processes.
Are there archaeological sites at Ontario Place?

The province has completed a Stage 1 and 2 archaeological assessment of the site. These studies confirmed that the islands are artificial, consist of urban fill and do not contain any archaeological resources.

A Marine assessment has been completed for the Ontario Place property and concluded that the majority of the lakebed was disturbed by the construction of the Ontario Place Islands.

Artwork and monument relocation at Ontario Place

As part of the redevelopment of Ontario Place, the Japanese Canadian Centennial Temple Bell and three sculptures from the Government of Ontario Art Collection have been relocated to storage. Relocation work began in Summer 2023 and was completed in late Fall 2023. All three artworks, the Japanese Canadian Centennial Temple Bell and Goh Ohn Bell Shelter will be stored securely onsite until reinstallation as part of the redeveloped public spaces at Ontario Place. The project team is committed to ensuring the safety of the artworks and monument throughout the redevelopment of Ontario Place.

The Japanese Canadian Centennial Temple Bell at Ontario Place

  • In 1977, the Japanese Canadian Centennial Temple Bell was presented to the people of Ontario on behalf of the 17,000 Japanese Canadians living in the province at that time, to commemorate 100 years of Japanese settlement in Canada.
  • From 1977 to 2023, the Japanese Canadian Centennial Temple Bell stood on the West Island of Ontario Place and was the site of annual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremonies and mid-summer Obon festivals.
  • The Japanese Canadian Centennial Bell monument includes the Goh Ohn Bell Shelter, designed by Raymond Moriyama.

To learn more about the Japanese Canadian Centennial Temple Bell, visit: https://torontonajc.ca/

Preliminary design plan for the Water’s Edge zone
Current status

The Strategic Conservation Plan (SCP) for Ontario Place has been completed and approved by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. You can access the SCP here.

As part of ongoing due diligence for the redevelopment of Ontario Place, an HIA was drafted.  Engagement with Indigenous communities and stakeholders on the draft HIA was undertaken until January 20, 2023, and the project team has reviewed the inputs and has updated the document. An update on Heritage was included as part of the virtual public consultation meeting on Thursday, April 27, 2023 (see the Environmental Assessments or Public Realm Design + Upgrades sections for more information). The recommended design of the public realm presented during this event includes feedback gathered throughout the EA process and from the HIA community engagement.