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Ontario Place makeover, major renovation on the way

ontario place

Ontario Place has been a popular destination for budget-minded family fun since the day it opened on May 22nd, 1971. While several tweaks have been made along the way, the general concept has stayed the same. But it now appears that big changes could be in the offing for the entire Ontario Place development and concept.

Truth be told, Ontario Place was born out of jealousy. The Ontario government watched as millions of dollars were spent on Montreal's waterfront and infrastructure as it prepared to host Expo '67. There was growing concern at the time that Ontario was not doing enough to make Toronto's waterfront family-friendly. In many ways, Ontario Place was a direct response to Montreal's Expo '67 facelift.

This is what Montreal Expo '67 looked like back in...1967:

Montreal Expo 67 on

Construction of Ontario Place started in March 1969 and completed in May 1971 at a cost to the provincial government of $29 million.

Fast-forward four decades and Ontario Place stands just shy of its 40th Anniversary. Annual attendance has dropped considerably in recent years as the general concept of Ontario Place ages and tires. It's time for a complete conceptual rethink, and if recent comments on the future is any indication, that is precisely what is coming to Ontario Place.

There is significant social, cultural, and economic value in revitalizing Ontario Place ... It has the potential to create a vibrant mix of public spaces, parkland and entertainment venues, and commercial establishments such as restaurants and stores. ... 2011 will be our 40th anniversary. It definitely needs a revitalization, that’s no surprise. It’s a blank slate, we’re open to just about anything."
CFTO Ontario Place Promotion early-1970's

Labatt 50 Commercial: Ontario Place 1971

Toronto Ontario Place footage - Exhibition on

photo credit: alexindigo

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NFL in Toronto: Bills vs. Jets December 3rd


With the CFL playoffs winding to a close and the Argos final game of the season long behind us, you might think that Toronto's football fanatics would have to go back into hiding for another 6 or 7 months. But not so! The Buffalo Bills are returning to Rogers Centre this year as part of their annual Bills in Toronto series.

On Thursday, December 3rd, the Buffalo Bills will be squaring off against the New York Jets in week 13 of their regular season schedule. Ticket prices are lower this year, starting at only $99. For more information, visit

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43rd Annual Cavalcade of Lights kicks off


Pretty lights and rockin' sounds are back in Nathan Phillips Square absolutely free of charge this fall, courtesy of the 43rd Annual Cavalvade of Lights.

This Saturday in Nathan Phillips Square the Cavalcade will kick off with the lighting of the City of Toronto's official Christmas tree, followed by a few performance from former Barenaked Lady Steven Page and an explosive fireworks display. Steven's set will be only one in a series of performances that evening, including Matt Dusk, Keshia Chante, and Fritz Helder & the Phantoms.

After the fireworks go off at 8pm, a skating party will take place with DJ Tony Sutherland providing some live mixing to accompany your skate. The entire event will be accompanied by a Free Trade market, offering handmade crafts and clothing from 2pm to 10pm.

Cavalcade fireworks and music combos will take place during several Saturdays in September as well. Here's what we have to look forward to;

December 5: Jully Black with a Soul/Funk skating party by DJ Jun

December 12:
State of Shock with a skating party by Promise DJs spinning the hottest dance music hits

December 19:
Faber Drive with an Alternative music skating party by DJ Misty Rock n' Roll

For more information, contact the City of Toronto.

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King Tut exhibit comes to the AGO


Next Tuesday, November 24th, the Art Gallery of Ontario is pleased to welcome the National Geographic exhibit Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs into it's hallowed halls.

His first stop in Canada in 30 years, King Tut will be bringing 130 artifacts from his tomb and surrounding archeological sites along with him. This stop in Toronto is the only Canadian leg of the Tut tour, and he'll only be residing in our fair city until April 18, 2010.

For more information, including ticket purchases, visit

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November 15th: Santa Claus Parade

cr3217.jpgIt's that time of year already. Tomorrow morning, secure your place along Bloor or University and prepare to welcome Santa Claus to this great city of ours.

Since 1905, the Toronto Santa Claus parade has made its way through the streets of downtown Toronto. Today, The Santa Claus Parade is the longest running children's parade in the world and one of the overall largest parades in the world.

The parade begins at 12:30. Arrive early if you want a great view. Check out the parade's route here.

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311, at your service


In late September, Toronto joined the growing list of major metropolitan areas to adopt a 311 telephone service number.

Intended for city-related non-emergency inquiries, 311 is the perfect number to call for anything related to the city. Concerned about the lack of a stop sign on your street? Want to know how to sign your kids up for swim classes at your nearest community center? Need to know what by-laws might apply if you're adding a deck to your house next summer? 311 is your magic number.

Like 911 for emergencies and 411 for directory information, 311 will provide Toronto residents with 24 hour access to city government information 7 days a week. The intent behind the service is to reduce the difficulty residents face when trying to get answers from City Hall. If you use the service, let us know how easy it was for you to get your answer!

For more information, check out the official Toronto 311 website.

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October 24th: Toronto Zombie Walk


On October 24th, join the infamous zombie walk across our great city. Or stalk it with your camera. It starts at 3:30 at Trinity Bellwoods Park. It ends at the Bloor Cinema.

On October 24th the DEAD shall RISE!

Roust your fetid corpse from its slumber, brush off those cobwebs and attend The 7th Annual Toronto Zombie Walk!

This year’s walk will commence at 3:30pm at Trinity Bellwoods Park, the meeting point will be the pit which is bordered by Dundas St. and Gore Vale Ave.

After your 3 Kill-O-Meter lurch in quest of human flesh meet your fate at The DEAD END (Bathurst and Bloor).

After the walk, stay for the Cinema of the Dead double feature at the Bloor Cinema (Night of the Comet; Zombi 2). And yes, there's an after-party. The dead do not sleep.

Look the part. Check out these zombie makeup tips.

Head to the official site for the Toronto Zombie Walk for the latest details. It's cool to be undead, folks. Very.

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Coming Soon: Chocolate Fest '09

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From October 19th to the 25th, Toronto chocolate-lovers can indulge to their hearts' content, dismissing their cocoa binge as an appreciation of the city's finest chocolatiers. Chocolate Fest '09 is celebrating its fourth year with plenty of decadent events.

Who needs crappy Halloween candy when you can taste sweet-tooth perfection?

Do not miss the Tour de Chocolat:

Chocolatiers and pastry shops will open their doors and welcome you with chocolate delights with once a year offerings and samplings.

Some of Toronto's top chefs are expected to prepare some of their most delectable signature chocolate dishes, desserts and drinks during the duration of Chocolate Fest '09. Chefs will offer a menu of chocolate infused foods, chocolate dessert specialties and chocolate drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Head to the official site and download coupons for free samples and tastings. And then plot your chocolate-packed schedule.

Yes, there is a chocolate ball. Sounds like my kind of gala.

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This Weekend: Nuit Blanche

It's that time of year again, folks. So rest up. Saturday night is gonna be a long one.

Nuit Blanche, the "free all-night contemporary art thing" starts at 6:55 p.m. on October 3rd and goes until sunrise.

For one sleepless night experience the city transformed by close to 500 artists for Toronto's fourth annual sunset to sunrise celebration of contemporary art. Discover art in galleries, museums and unexpected places. From churches and grocery stores to chimney stacks and bus stations, choose from 130 projects and chart your own path.

Check out the official site for more details. There's too much to see in one night, so plot your Nuit Blanche strategy carefully. Wouldn't want to miss the real-money Monopoly. Or the vodka pool. And bring enough cash for a coffee. Or two. You'll need the caffeine. Trust me.

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Tomorrow: Word on the Street

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Tomorrow (September 27th), be sure to check out Word on the Street, the national book and magazine festival, at Queen's Park.

Celebrate 20 festivals with us this year. Families will find fun on KidStreet, foodies will discover great eats at our Cooks 'n' Books Stage and World Food Market, book lovers can meet authors and buy the latest fall books while magazine junkies can get lost in Magazine Mews. And become a part of Word On The Street history by signing our Literacy Mural and supporting our Loonies for Literacy Campaign.

Margaret Atwood is stopping by. As is Stuart McLean. So you should too. And if you're a budding (or seasoned) author, be sure to take part in the workshops. This is your chance to get feedback from some of our national treasures!

The festival runs from 11 am to 6 pm. Celebrate its 20th anniversary by supporting Canadian authors. Literacy is cool, kids. Always.

See you there!

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