April 18, 2023

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday April 18, 2023

Ford’s Fumbled Vision for Ontario Place

Premier Doug Ford’s recent announcements about Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre have left many scratching their heads. Ford, known more for his political blunders than his youthful exploits as a rebel without a cause, seems to be haphazardly scribbling plans for these iconic attractions on the back of a napkin, as NDP Leader Marit Stiles aptly pointed out in the legislature.

Ford’s bewildering plan to uproot the Science Centre from its historic location and hand over public lands to a private European developer to build a luxury spa and parking lot on Ontario Place’s West Island has raised more than a few eyebrows. The lack of transparency and accountability in Ford’s decision-making process is as clear as mud, and critics are rightly concerned about the environmental impact of cutting down over 800 trees for a proposed spa, as revealed in a recent City of Toronto planning staff report.

Mayoral candidates Josh Matlow and Olivia Chow have called for preserving Ontario Place as a public park without a private spa, while Ford’s former adviser, Mark Saunders, seems to view it as a “tourism opportunity” for the city. However, Ford remains resolute in his plans, claiming that the idea to relocate the Science Centre came up a year ago and that he personally thinks it’s a brilliant idea. Perhaps his rose-tinted nostalgia for the good old days is clouding his judgment as he makes decisions about these provincial treasures.

As the June 26 mayoral byelection looms, Ford’s puzzling vision for Ontario Place and the Science Centre has become a contentious issue. Many are clamoring for more transparency and accountability in Ford’s decision-making process, and urging him to put aside his impulsive napkin-scrawled plans and approach these beloved attractions with a modicum of strategic foresight. It’s high time for Ford to heed the concerns of the public and consider the long-term implications of his ill-conceived plans for Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre, instead of making rash decisions that seem more fitting of his political misadventures than his youthful escapades. (AI)

Ontario, YDF, Young Doug Ford, Ontario Place, Helix, Cinesphere, tourism, spa