Artists once again met at the wall at Ontario Place on Sunday, February 11, and with chalk in hand they created beautiful illustrations of wildlife and inscribed messages of outrage over the destructive plans for the site. On an unusually warm February weekend, the many walkers, runners and cyclists of lakeshore passed by the vivid public gallery, with some joining in and others learning of the fight for our public waterfront.
The writing on the wall is clear - don’t destroy public space and wildlife habitat on the lakeshore at Ontario Place for a private spa!
Photos by Francesca Bouaoun
Please note: This event was entirely oirganized by a wonderful group of artists who have been hugely helpful in raising awareness about Ontario Place. We are very grateful for their beautiful contributions. Stay tuned for more events like this in the future.
A temporary misspelt sign advises visitors to Ontario Place that West Island is now closed to public access. The news is just breaking on this, and we will be sure to elaborate with an update very soon. As always, we ask you to please contact your provincial MPP and the premier of Ontario, doug ford, and let them know how you feel about your park being leased out to private interests at the cost of the destruction of a unique urban forest and habitat.
Hello supporters of Ontario Place,
We have concerns that the West Island may be closed to public access as soon as late New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, we have no hard evidence, just some chatter we have come across. SwimOP is still planning to hold its Polar Bear Plunge at Hough Beach on New Year’s Day at 12 Noon, which may delay the closing date for West Island. If West Island is closed, SwimOP has an alternative location to dip at the docks near the entrance to Trillium Park.
We regret this last-minute plea, but we are asking as many supporters of Ontario Place as possible to come down to the West Island bridge from 11:00 AM on New Year’s Day to support the swimmers and plungers and show the provincial government yet again how unhappy we are about the theft of our public park and the decimation of a 14-acre forest that provides the home for over 200 species of birds and animals, all to make way for a needless, unwanted privately owned spa.
Please keep in mind that if we are lucky, this may turn out to be just a dress rehearsal, but we still really encourage you to come out. Bring spouses, friends, kids, colleagues, neighbours, pets, and anybody (or any creature) to help get out our message to Save Ontario Place, Save the Trees, and Stop the Spa.
And don’t forget signs and chalk if you have…
Let’s make January 1st, 2024, a day to remember!
In an international alert, sent out yesterday, the World Monuments Fund (New York) condemned, in the strongest terms, the imminent destruction of the original landscape designed by renowned Canadian landscape architect Michael Hough at Ontario Place.
In 2020 WMF identified Ontario Place as a site of international significance which was “at risk” WMF was joined by the Cultural Landscape Foundation (Washington) yesterday in saying they were particularly disturbed by the Province of Ontario’s complete disregard for their own Environmental Protection Act, Heritage Act and Environmental Bill of Rights which govern this site.
The province has constructed an 8-foot-high wall of black hoarding, which stretches nearly a kilometre across the entire site. Behind this wall of shame – nearly 200 of the 1,500 trees slated for destruction have already been felled. Once on the ground - the trees are shredded so the evidence of their demise disappears and is quietly trucked away.
The assault on East Island seems to have begun today. A magnificent old willow, 72 cm in diameter and in excellent condition, was taken down and is now a pile of wood chips.
The Trees Have Spoken is an environmental art intervention on behalf of the trees of Ontario Place. Hundreds of fallen autumn leaves from the West Island of Ontario Place were collected in late October, early November, cut into heart shapes and pressed in books before being sewn together with red and green cotton thread in sets of strings.
The public statement of the trees ’Leaf me be’ was added to many of the leaves with a manual typewriter.
Eleven strings in nine locations, each consisting of 30-45 leaves were installed on December 15, 2023 among the trees on the West Island of Ontario Place as an act of defiance.
It is only by respecting nature that we begin to stop harming ourselves.
Artist Staement by Martin Reis & Richelle Forsey
We had a great tour from the acclaimed landscape architect, Walter Kehm. At least 75 people showed up at West Island to hear Walter speak about his personal experience at Ontario Place, his appreciation for the amazing habitat that has developed over the last 10 years, and he shared his knowledge about trees and plants that are flourishing there. We are very grateful to Walter for leading us around and through West Island. He spoke with elegance, authority and good humour. Thank you again, Walter!
And thanks also to all the people who joined the tour. It was, by all accounts, a huge success.