Therme redesigns Ontario Place waterpark and spa plan to expand public space

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CaDCR Construction News staff writer

Austrian-based Therme is planning to build a spa and waterpark at Ontario Place has released new designs that include more public space and smaller buildings.

The redesign, in response to public criticism, includes 16 acres of public space with 3.4 acres of parkland and trails on top of the waterpark building.

Also, the structure will be 25 per cent smaller than the original design; accomplished by shrinking the height and the scale of the building.

“The update features new areas designed with input from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) and also incorporating feedback from public meetings, community engagement and City of Toronto planning staff,” Therme said in a press release on Aug. 22.

“When complete, the Ontario Place public parkland will become the largest public gathering space on Toronto’s western waterfront.”

Architect Gary Mcluskie from Diamond Schmitt and Jeff Craft, from STUDIO tla, are two of the architects on the project. They told CP24 that the new design is something that is more “true to the initial vision for Ontario Place” following the integration of public feedback.

“We’ve done a redesign and kind of a rethink based on that commentary,” Mcluskie told reporters. “We now resubmit to the city and we’ll do another round of public consultation.”

The new design creates a “campus-style” building layout.

“The design that we revealed today delivers the same great waterpark and wellbeing attractions, but thanks to feedback, it has even more open parkland, more natural spaces, more public trails, and more places for people to gather,” said Dr. Robert Hanea, CEO and Chairman of Therme Group, in the press release. “After this revitalization, there will be more public space than currently exists on the West Island, and we are proud to advance a project that responds so meaningfully to the feedback we have heard so far.”

Indigenous heritage will also be recognized on the site, in collaboration with the MCFN.

“We are very pleased with the unveiling of the design for the West Island at Ontario Place,” said MCFN Chief Stacey LaForme. “Our deep and ongoing partnership with Therme continues to bring us closer to our shared vision for cultural revitalization and place-keeping. We look forward to our continued collaboration and to advancing the design of the West Island in a meaningful and culturally significant way.”

The pedestrian bridge to the West Island from Lakeshore Boulevard West has been redesigned and will now be a greenspace and public pathway and the developer says that in total, the updated design has increased the proposed public parkland area by 35 per cent, and that the public pathways on the island have been made wider to accommodate additional food concession areas.

Also, the southeastern corner of the island has been redesigned to feature a larger gathering space and better protection from the elements.

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