Ontario Place


Ontario Place

Client: Ontario Place Corporation 

Area: 50 acres

Type: Urban revitalization  

Location: Toronto, Canada 

Year: 2017

Status: Under-construction

PARTISANS has been retained to provide Creative Services and Detailed Design to support the revitalization of Ontario Place. After having won a first competition in Fall 2016 to elaborate a creative vision for the interim reactivation of the site, PARTISANS won a subsequent public competition to execute that vision. 

Upon a deep analysis of Ontario Place’s history, context, design heritage, and revenue potential, PARTISANS proposed the following: “to reactivate Ontario Place as an all-season waterfront destination for experiencing and sharing the latest in music, culture, ideas, and sport. It will be an inclusive meeting place, a flexible platform for creativity and innovation, and a lakeside setting for special events and activities.” The vision was informed by several key insights: combining passive and active site strategies to reactivate physical and psychological access to the site; honouring the architectural heritage by refreshing the buildings and turning them into found space for continuous temporary programming; and forging partnerships with festivals, institutions, and operators to attract a wider range of events and seed new revenue models. 

The first project to be unveiled by PARTISANS is the Trillium Pavilion (right), a new face for the West Entrance Pavilion. Standing 50 feet tall, the Trillium Pavilion is a beacon for Ontario Place, augmenting the visibility of the Lakeshore address, providing a clear meeting place and drop-off for visitors, and signalling the site’s reintegration into the urban and cultural fabric. The Pavilion design features white, clean lines to honour the modernist aesthetic introduced by Eberhard Zeidler’s futuristic Pods and Cinesphere in the 1970s. A soaring white powder-coated scaffold structure holds a white fabric geometric shape that is lit after dark to offer a safe and immersive nighttime experience. The geometric shape reinterprets the Ontario Place trillium to offer a new twist on the familiar sign, announcing the entrance with scale and amplifying wayfinding for those traveling along Lakeshore. 

PARTISANS undertook targeted renovations to the Cinesphere in anticipation of its reopening for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and subsequently the public on November 3, 2017. We are overseeing the demolition of the Pods’ interiors and subsequent renovations to return the structures to their original condition, converting them into found space for third-party rentals. We are also working on design and programming for year-round activities and collaborating with Janet Rosenberg & Studio on landscape interventions throughout the site.