Five outside-the-box housing ideas that Toronto should try, according to report

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Toronto needs to think outside the box — or the condo tower — when it comes to solving its housing challenges. Put another way: “It’s time to hack the condo model,” says the executive director of the Ryerson City Building Institute.

Its latest report surveys ideas that are creating more middle- and lower-income housing in other cities and at home — notions, Cherise Burda says, that bear further exploration.

Options for Homes, a social enterprise that helps home buyers with down payments, and a new modular design being considered in Hamilton, are among the ideas Toronto needs, according to a report from the Ryerson City Building Institute.
Options for Homes, a social enterprise that helps home buyers with down payments, and a new modular design being considered in Hamilton, are among the ideas Toronto needs, according to a report from the Ryerson City Building Institute.  (Gillian Foster photo)

“I’m tired of the same old conversations about supply, supply, supply,” she said. “It’s time to start thinking creatively. If you just keep doing things the same way, you’re just going to end up with the same housing.”

Architect and developer Heather Tremain agrees the housing industry needs to step up its game. She is CEO of Options for Homes, a social enterprise that builds what it calls “below-market ownership housing.”

“For us, one of the challenges is we work in a market context. Everything is more expensive — exponential increases of land values. Last year construction prices rose 12 per cent. All of those things make it really hard to deliver something affordable in this market,” she said.

It’s the reality in the gentrifying city.

“To some extent we are becoming more of a luxury market,” said Tremain.

Changes in the way people are living and creating families provides an opportunity for the real estate market, she said.

Here are five ideas that could help Toronto confront its housing affordability challenge, according to the City Building Institute’s “Rethinking the Tower” report.

Naked House affordable housing offers the finished shell of a house or apartment and furnish it at your own pace and price.
Naked House affordable housing offers the finished shell of a house or apartment and furnish it at your own pace and price.  (nakedhouse.org)

The Naked House

Most Toronto-area pre-construction homes are sold with a base package of fittings, fixtures and finishes with the opportunity to pay extra to upgrade features from flooring to countertops. But what if you could just buy the finished shell of a house or apartment and furnish it at your own pace and price?

A British-based not-for-profit, Naked House is supported by grants, investments and access to public land. It keeps building costs down by providing buyers with a nearly bare box at about 20 to 40 per cent less than standard market price. Purchasers get a livable home built to code with basic plumbing and energy-efficient electrics.

There are income qualifications, and purchasers have to live in the part of London where the housing is being developed. They must also demonstrate they have the know-how or money to finish their unit.

The Naked House website promises that the lowest-priced homes are affordable to those earning the London median income of about $59,000 (Canadian) and should never cost more than a third of the buyer’s gross household income.

It calls its target market “generation rent” — those with too much income to qualify for publicly assisted housing but not enough to buy a home at the going market price.

Mod cons’ calls for 250-square-foot lots to be sold, allowing buyers to purchase one or more to create units of up to about 1,000 square feet.
Mod cons’ calls for 250-square-foot lots to be sold, allowing buyers to purchase one or more to create units of up to about 1,000 square feet.  (superlofts.co)

The new ‘mod con’

Although it resists being labelled as “modular” construction, developer JvN/d’s design for a Hamilton apartment building calls for it to be sold in 250-square-foot lots, allowing buyers to purchase one or more to create units of up to about 1,000 square feet.

“The main word is flexibility,” said director John van Nostrand.

The concept — still in the planning approval stage — means the lots can be purchased individually or in multiples to create units. The lots can be individually titled under a mortgage so they can be purchased and sold separately, giving the owners the option of using the space differently at different stages of their life, including subletting parts of their units.

Van Nostrand calls it a vertical subdivision and says it’s similar to the way office space is sold and leased — with a recognition that uses and needs change.

It gives young adults the option of staying in the city when they might otherwise have children and look for a house somewhere else. It also provides an ownership opportunity for people with incomes in the $60,000-to-$80,000 range, less than you need to buy a typical condo in Hamilton.

All the units would be fitted up to building code standards but buyers would have the option of purchasing a unit finished or unfinished.

There are variations in other parts of the world. Pocket Living in London is using factory-made housing modules that are assembled on the building site for homes that sell for 20 to 40 per cent below market price.

Amsterdam’s Superlofts by Marc Koehler Architects is fitting a building shell with modular units that can be designed to the taste and budget of the occupants.

The line on assembly

Factory construction where some elements are built off-site can reduce construction cost by 25 per cent and reduce timelines by as much as 50 per cent, said Burda. That was the case with a Scarborough seniors home where 413 exterior wall panels were built by PCL Construction in Etobicoke.

“With windows pre-installed, the prefabricated wall panels reduced the number of building trades required on the construction site and increased worker safety overall,” said the City Building Institute report.

Prefab components also make it easier to work on smaller, harder-to-access building sites, Burda said.

“It’s like Lego. Some of these companies can build a floor a day because they build them off-site in a controlled environment. They’re energy-efficient modules. Then they transport them and they assemble them on site,” she said.

Family condos can also be brought down in size if the amenities in the building are the ones families need.
Family condos can also be brought down in size if the amenities in the building are the ones families need.  (Facebook)

Scaling down

The micro-condo has arrived in Toronto. But in many cases those small units come with a cost per square foot that veers toward luxury living because of the amenities. Burda suggests that family condos can also be brought down in size if the amenities in the building are the ones families need.

She likens it to the way families want to live in a single-family house.

“It’s a yard, a garage for your stuff and a play area for kids. That’s really becoming the thing for good co-living to build a big playroom for the kids that everybody can share and keep their toys in; outdoor spaces, and a lot of places provide a workshop, the alternative to a garage where adults can build stuff and fix your bike,” Burda said.

The report profiles a purpose-built rental in Vancouver that includes a DIY workshop, individual garden plots and a dog-wash, but with relatively small individual units.

At the Ollie at Carmel Place in New York, affordable units for low- and middle-income residents are integrated with micro-units at market rents. There was no city money in the project but the builder saved through modular construction, some relaxed unit size standards and sped-up timelines.

Options and shared equity

Options for Homes has already built 2,750 homes in 11 buildings throughout Toronto, including the first residential units in the Distillery District. It’s been around for 25 years and it’s the kind of program Toronto needs to expand, Burda says.

The social enterprise works with its not-for-profit Home Ownership Alternatives financial agency to provide loans that banks recognize as equity. Buyers don’t have to pay interest or repay the second mortgage until they sell their unit. The homes offer base finishes — carpets and ceramic tile — and appliances aren’t included, although they can be purchased as part of a group buy. Some buildings have basic amenities such as workshops and children’s playrooms.

Options’ latest project includes a building that is 60 per cent two- and three-bedroom units suitable for families, Tremain said.

“You would never have seen that even a couple of years ago,” she said.

Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski

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Readers have lots of ideas for Ontario Place redevelopment

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Nadine Spencer, president of the Black Business and Professional Association, remembers attending a reggae concert at Ontario Place when she was a teenager recently arrived from Jamaica, and the way it brought people together.

“I came to Canada in 1979, when I was 12. And I remember going to Ontario Place with my family as a new immigrant, and seeing Peter Tosh play.

Nadine Spencer remembers how attending a concert at Ontario Place when she was a child helped her feel connected to the city, and wants new generations of residents to have the same experience.
Nadine Spencer remembers how attending a concert at Ontario Place when she was a child helped her feel connected to the city, and wants new generations of residents to have the same experience.  (CECIL / NI Photography)

“It wasn’t just Jamaicans. Everyone was there … from all different races, and there we were, sitting on the grass, eating and dancing and just celebrating.”

The memory of that day is with her still, at 50, and Spencer wants to see newcomers have the opportunity to enjoy the same kind of experience.

“I think Ontario Place should be a space where people meet, where families meet and communities meet and we get to know each other and learn from each other — maybe this is just a part of the solution to the bigger issues in the city, to have a space that’s inclusive,” said Spencer, who is also CEO of BrandEQ Group Inc., a global marketing and communications agency.

We reached out to followers on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and put calls in to people we thought might have something informed, fresh or profound to say.

The ideas were silly and solemn and earnest and out there.

A theme park for cannabis. A penal colony. A beer garden with a retractable roof so it can be used 365 days a year, with a rotating selection of Ontario craft beers on tap, Ontario wines and spirits, and paired with local restaurants for snacks.

Blue Jays fan Robert Fulton proposed an open-air baseball stadium for the Blue Jays, with the city as a backdrop, pointing out that cities in the U.S. have been building popular new parks that hearken back to a different era, pointing to Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as an example.

“The throwback-style parks MLB has been building the last 20 years or so are so beautiful — they alone bring people out,” said Fulton, who has visited Pittsburgh three times since PNC Park was built.

“Whenever I see baseball highlights on TV from PNC Park, the glimpses of Pittsburgh are so nice it made me want to visit the city,” said Fulton.

“We all know how beautiful Toronto is and showcasing it that way is free tourism and advertising.”

Preserving Ontario Place as a park was the most popular response on social media. Many people mentioned the importance of better transit links to the site, including a shuttle from Union Station. There was strong support for keeping the existing structures on the property — the Cinesphere and the pods — and also for adding restaurants, festivals and a marketplace. A couple of people spoke up in support of a mall or casino, but not a majority.

“I bristle incandescently at the thought of a mall or casino rendering yet more prime land to soulless commercial ghetto,” said Cavan Campbell, @CCamOperator, on Twitter.

Water sports were mentioned often, including canoeing, kayaking, sailing and a log ride for kids.

Urban planner Joe Berridge, partner at Urban Strategies, with planning experience in the Ontario Place and Exhibition Place area, envisions it as part of a new convention centre including Exhibition Place to the north, replacing the existing Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front St.

Ontario Place would provide the entertainment and relaxation elements of the convention centre site, preserving the Cinesphere, the islands as parks and the pods as event venues.

“They’re beautiful buildings inside and they have glorious views,” said Berridge, adding that it’s crucial to redevelop the site hand-in-hand with Exhibition Place, which has the transit connectivity and activity needed to rejuvenate and connect Ontario Place.

Berridge envisions hotel, retail and entertainment uses on the existing Ontario Place parking lots, including a winter spa.

Phil Myrick, CEO, Projects for Public Spaces, a non-profit planning, design and educational organization, said redeveloping such a large piece of the waterfront is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Waterfronts are the single most valuable piece of any city’s land and they’re totally unique in terms of the opportunity.”

Online views:

People online had plenty to say about what they thought Ontario Place should be:

  • The magic of Ontario Place for me as a child was the ability to climb and play; the huge space. Why not re-make it into a public park, with wildlife zones, playscapes, quiet gardens; a place to celebrate the physical world. A place to breathe. Toronto’s gift to people? — Megan O’Connor, Twitter
  • Nothing commercial. Keep the William G. Davis Trail in honour of the last real Tory. Keep Cinesphere in honour of great Canadian IMAX technology. Let nature rule everywhere else. Maybe a Tanglewood style concert venue. Splice to the TTC. No parking lots — David Hammer, Twitter
  • Establish an Indigenous cultural and learning centre or university or healing truth-and-reconciliation place in order to reinterpret the name Ontario Place, bringing it back to its roots, making it a place of growth and renewal — Graziano Galati, Twitter
  • How about a boardwalk with restaurants and bars? There’s nowhere near enough patios in Toronto during the summer. Everything is packed. Good example of this is Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia — Jenn Heard, Twitter
  • Casino with a huge poker room! — Jon McKenzie, Twitter
  • Maintain the Cinesphere. Maintain as many of the old buildings as possible. Clean it up a bit and keep it going as a park. The In Future festival was truly stunning, and many of the seasonal festivals have been great, as well. I would love to see more festivals and events held there. If possible open up the buildings in the water as event spaces or restaurants. I also think it’s important to protect, maintain and expand public green spaces on the waterfront — Reddit user
  • No cars. Pedestrians and bikes only. Maybe a fun little railway to move people around the site (especially important to keep all aspects of the site accessible for those that may have issues with mobility). A gem on the waterfront that shines a light on the best parts of the province, and is for all Ontarians, where the whole province can feel at home and find something fun to do (ideally at all times of the year): regardless of their financial means, age, etc. Toronto is the provincial capital. If we’re not going to play host to something that celebrates the province as a whole, who is? — Reddit user
  • I think this should be rebuilt as a mega mall. The mall should be built similar to Woodbine, Yorkdale and BCE mall. These three malls all have one great feature; why not build a mega mall that contains all of the features? Inside the mall I think there should be a Fantasy Fair, a cinema and a daycare centre. This way, it will be used all year round (as) it is set in such a great location. Everyone is welcome — Reddit user
  • Erect a GIGANTIC statue of a golfer in mid swing about to hit the Cinesphere. If you build it, they will come — Reddit user
  • How about a mega mall and a casino, with a dedicated monorail from Union Station. This will put Ontario place back on the map — James MacDonald, Facebook
  • Make it into a complete entertainment strip with hotels, restaurants, shops, whatever else — Joshua Rubinger
  • Bio dome with aviary and planetarium — Eric Henry, Facebook
  • Should be a theme park for cannabis — Reddit user

Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF

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Ontario Place must remain ‘family friendly’ and accessible to all, experts say. Here are their ideas

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Former Progressive Conservative premier Bill Davis is weighing into the debate to ensure a crucial piece of Toronto waterfront remains “a family place” — with no casino.

Davis, at age 89 a revered figure in the Progressive Conservative party, made the comments about Ontario Place in response to questions the Star put to thinkers, planners and politicians about the site’s future being pondered by Premier Doug Ford and his PC government.

Former Premier Bill Davis, who led Ontario from 1971 to 1985, concluded that Ontario Place should continue putting Ontarians first and “it would be a shame and a disservice if commercial gain replaced the public interest on the present site of Ontario Place.”
Former Premier Bill Davis, who led Ontario from 1971 to 1985, concluded that Ontario Place should continue putting Ontarians first and “it would be a shame and a disservice if commercial gain replaced the public interest on the present site of Ontario Place.”  (Rick Madonik / Toronto Star)

Some are calling for major development but most experts said revitalization steps to date — a walking and biking trail named after Davis in 2015 and the east island’s 7.5-acre Trillium Park — are steps in the right direction.

“Ontario Place was conceived as a family place, with attractions, entertainment, food services, play and theatre areas aimed at the family,” Davis said in a statement, adding its superb Lake Ontario location made it accessible from all directions and “genuinely family friendly.”

“While any site decades old needs renewal and investment, the core idea of a family friendly amusement and enjoyment centre, affordable for all, with perhaps a Ferris wheel, more programming for children, more interactive displays, more cultural and museum facilities, more room for sports and family, makes immense sense,” he said.

Proposals kicked around for years to revitalize the 155-acre park with iconic Cinesphere dome, futuristic over-water “pods” and man-made islands have new urgency as the Ford government says everything, including a casino, is on the table as it seeks a “world-class attraction” for the site.

Read more:

Readers have lots of ideas for Ontario Place redevelopment

Opinion | Edward Keenan: ‘Nothing can be saved’ at Ontario Place? That’s simply not true

Comments trigger alarm bells over fate of Ontario Place

Before being toppled last June, the provincial Liberal government solicited but failed to choose from proposals that had to foster culture, innovation and diversity, with no condominiums and no casinos.

Last week PC fundraiser Jim Ginou, reappointed Ontario Place chair by Ford after a stint two decades ago, alarmed some people when he told Queen’s Park Briefing the site is “in complete disrepair … nothing that can be saved” so it can be rebuilt “any way that Ford wants.”

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, speaking for the government, did not disagree with Ginou, saying: “Let’s look at (everything), let’s not have any closed doors.”

In Davis’s era, the educational amusement park was home to top entertainment and everything from hot dogs to fine dining. “From IMAX films to world class concerts, it was a leader in North American family entertainment, said Davis, honoured in 2015 with the William G. Davis Trail during the first phase of a now-suspended revitalization following the park’s 2012 closure amid sagging attendance.

“What would not make sense is a casino-centered development, priced only for the better off, surrounded by more eyesore commercial or condominium structures.”

Former premier Bill Davis says that while Ontario Place may need renewal and investment, it should remain "a family friendly amusement and enjoyment centre, affordable for all."
Former premier Bill Davis says that while Ontario Place may need renewal and investment, it should remain « a family friendly amusement and enjoyment centre, affordable for all. »  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star file photo)

Davis, who led Ontario from 1971 to 1985, concluded that Ontario Place should continue putting Ontarians first and “it would be a shame and a disservice if commercial gain replaced the public interest on the present site of Ontario Place.”

Apart from Davis, residents of Toronto and beyond are speaking up, demanding the people’s voice be heard. Organizers of Saturday afternoon’s “Rally Round Ontario Place” have had to move the event to a bigger room, at Metro Hall. All seats were quickly reserved, with a waiting list started.

Some say any Ontario Place plan must include Exhibition Place, the bigger city-owned site to the north with TTC and GO train service near growing the Liberty Village and Fort York neighbourhoods.

As for Ford, he has in the past championed splashy development for Toronto’s waterfront, with possibilities including a casino and giant ferris wheel. Others say housing including affordable apartments, townhomes or condos could inject year-round vitality and capital funding into the mix.

Here is a sample of ideas people have for the site:

Jennifer Keesmaat envisions a new, direly needed convention centre — a big “signature building” decided by international design competition — at Exhibition Place and connecting that site and the rest of the city to a more natural Ontario Place.
Jennifer Keesmaat envisions a new, direly needed convention centre — a big “signature building” decided by international design competition — at Exhibition Place and connecting that site and the rest of the city to a more natural Ontario Place.  (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)
  • Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s former chief planner, notes there is much planning and data from public consultations to draw on so “we’re not starting from scratch.” The big challenge, she said, is connecting Ontario Place to transit and bustling neighbourhoods on the other side of Lake Shore Blvd. W.

“The Exhibition (Place) lands have been revitalized — there is a stadium there now, a hotel, the (Beanfield conference) centre, so there’s an incredible opportunity to plan the entire area as an event space and a destination that prioritizes access to the water’s edge as a public amenity.”

She envisions a new, direly needed convention centre — a big “signature building” decided by international design competition — at Exhibition Place and connecting that site and the rest of the city to a more natural Ontario Place, with park spaces and use of Lake Ontario.

“Make (Ontario Place) a waterfront park that is all about providing access to the water, activity on the water and is accessible to absolutely everyone in the city and the province,” she said. The entire area becomes “a tourist destination, a regional amenity (and) a space that supports the rapidly densifying areas around it.”

A casino is a “horrendous idea,” Keesmaat added, and condos have no place at Ontario Place. “There is only one water’s edge. We have made this mistake in the past already.”

Revitalization of Ontario Place was already underway under the previous provinvincial government, with possibilities including a "canal district."
Revitalization of Ontario Place was already underway under the previous provinvincial government, with possibilities including a « canal district. »  (Government of Ontario)
  • Ken Tanenbaum, a developer who specializes in public-private partnerships, led a proposal to the previous government that wasn’t acted upon to redevelop the west island with university and cultural uses, parkland, an entertainment venue and retail. Tanenbaum, whose bid involved the CNE, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, and Live Nation, said he expects to make a different proposal to the Ford government.

Like Keesmaat he thinks Ontario Place and Exhibition Place need to be planned together because of transit connections, and said the walk across the latter can be “lit up” with an interesting weather-shielded path through the Food Building and BMO Field.

Tanenbaum said he believes Eberhard Zeidler’s Cinesphere and pods must remain. “It’s a sacred part of Ontario Place and needs to be brought back to life but there’s very substantial capital involved in the exercise of bringing it back to life,” with modern sewer, water and power, plus shoreline restoration.

That could mean tens of millions, maybe even $100 million, even with a park-like setting, he said, and the Ontario government will “want to see a commercial engine that can create the economics that can allow that to be funded by the private sector.”

  • Ken Greenberg, a prominent planner who is speaking at the “Rally Round Ontario Place” event, said he believes in a vision he and others put forward in 2007.

Redeveloping Ontario Place and Exhibition Place could produce a “Lakefront Park” with a grand waterfront gathering place, including recreation, entertainment, major annual events, theatres, marinas, art galleries, restaurants and heritage sites, acting as a major international tourism draw.

“Between buildings and stretching across Lake Shore Blvd., attractive landscapes would be preserved as freely accessible park spaces that would extend like an emerald arm across the waterfront,” while linked parks would draw people from downtown to the east.

  • Zahra Ebrahim, a Toronto designer and urbanist, said the province should “play with ideas of how we can mix public art (and) cultural use with green space.

“We have a shot at something like (Chicago’s waterfront) Millennium Park — a great mix of public space, play space for kids, a natural escape and also dynamic and engaging public art.”

  • Phil Myrick is chief executive of Projects for Public Spaces, a non-profit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.

“Building a casino or a mall there is a vision for 20 years and it’s a vision that brings benefits to very few people,” he said. “The kind of vision that a downtown waterfront needs should be a 100-year vision, which brings benefits to the whole city on a scale that would dwarf the revenues that a casino will make because of the value that you can bring the city when you envision a wonderful public place on the water. That’s value that doesn’t decline.

“It’s value that stays and builds and increases over time and is shared by multitudes of different actors, including of course, the city, which is looking to improve its revenues through a stronger tax base.”

Neither a ferris wheel nor casino make any sense, Ontario Place’s original architect says.
Neither a ferris wheel nor casino make any sense, Ontario Place’s original architect says.  (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)
  • Eberhard Zeidler, the 93-year-old chief architect of Ontario Place, said he’d like to see his original concept rejuvenated and enjoyed still as the multi-use space it once was.

“History is history and what happened at one time has meaning still today, just to understand the time and the feeling of the time,” he said. “To just tear it down is to lose something. It’s the same thing as saying Rome wasn’t there.”

The purpose too as an exhibition space and urban park is still meaningful, he said. Neither a ferris wheel nor casino make any sense.

“I don’t know why you have to do something different,” he said. “It doesn’t add anything.”

His daughter, Margie Zeidler, president and creator of the 401 Richmond space in downtown Toronto and an architect, said she agrees there’s no need to start over.

“I agree it’s a disgraceful mess,” she said, noting how parts of the site have been allowed to go unused for years, but she said: “It does not need to come down. It’s not structurally a problem.”

The pods could be better used and reimagined, she said, adding it would be important to preserve the buildings.

Proposals kicked around for years to revitalize the 155-acre park with iconic Cinesphere dome, futuristic over-water “pods” and man-made islands have new urgency as the Ford government says everything, including a casino, is on the table as it seeks a “world-class attraction” for the site.
Proposals kicked around for years to revitalize the 155-acre park with iconic Cinesphere dome, futuristic over-water “pods” and man-made islands have new urgency as the Ford government says everything, including a casino, is on the table as it seeks a “world-class attraction” for the site.  (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)
  • Toronto condo king Brad Lamb: “We need to think bigger.”

“I’d create a boardwalk, a very wide, amazing boardwalk along the waterfront. I’d commercialize it on the interior side … and I’d put bars and restaurants and stores and just a ton of stuff, and I’d make it a massive international tourist destination so that not only local Torontonians enjoyed it, but people travelled for miles to come to it and it was a fantastic experience and event.”

Lamb says the new Ontario Place should have “a yacht club, a proper public yacht club where large, lake-going vessels, 40-to-60-foot boats, can moor up. Why can’t we do that here? Why can’t you pull up to a spot with your boat from Rochester or Buffalo?”

He would make it 60 per cent park public realm and 40 per cent commercialized.

“Let’s make it a generator of revenue for the government, so it’s zero cost to the government, so that it supports itself, or, heaven forbid, what if it made a profit?”

With files from Francine Kopun and Jennifer Pagliaro

Full statement from Bill Davis

“Ontario Place was conceived as a family place, with attractions, entertainment, food services, play and theatre areas aimed at the family. With its superb location at the foot of the City, bordering Lake Ontario, accessible to highways and public transit from East, West and North, it was meant to be genuinely family friendly. Equally comfortable with Tier 1 entertainment, hot dogs, fine dining, as with folk music, picnicking, ice cream and visiting dignitaries, adjacent to sports facilities and interesting exhibits, it welcomed all. From IMAX films to world class concerts, it was a leader in North American family entertainment.

“While any site decades old needs renewal and investment, the core idea of a family friendly amusement and enjoyment centre, affordable for all, with perhaps a Ferris wheel, more programming for children, more interactive displays, more cultural and museum facilities, more room for sports and family, makes immense sense. What would not make sense is a casino-centered development, priced only for the better off, surrounded by more eyesore commercial or condominium structures.

“Ontario Place is and was a Crown Corporation so as to serve the public of Ontario — those living in the GTA and visiting from away. It would be a shame and a disservice if commercial gain replaced the public interest on the present site of Ontario Place.”

David Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering Toronto politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

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Food Gift Ideas (2018): What the Bon Appétit Staff Is Giving This Year

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When I had my first sip of Forthave Spirits Marseille Amaro, the coziest winter-spiced amaro your heart could desire, I had a vision of myself sitting by a warm fireplace in the middle of a blizzard, with sweatpants tucked into my socks and slippers on my feet. There’s something very special happening at the small but mighty Forthave Spirits Distillery in Brooklyn. A lot of thought and consideration has gone into each of the three spirits on offer, but pour yourself a glass and see for yourself. – Molly Baz, senior associate food editor

Buy it: Forthave Spirits Marseille Amaro (Half-Bottle), $28 from Astor Wines

 

All products featured on Bonappetit.com are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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