Almost 100 rally attendees braved the bitter lake winds on February 25 to protest the closure of Ontario Place. On February 1, the provincial government announced the iconic, provincially-owned park was shutting its gates after 40 years of public operation, without any true plans for the property’s future. The closure has caused public outcry on Facebook to keep the beautiful, waterfront public space open.
Guest speakers at the rally were Eduardo Almeida, OPSEU 1st VP/Treasurer, Paul Miller, NDP Critic of Tourism and Culture, Jaime Carnevale, Ontario Place worker, Rosario Marchese, NDP MPP Trinity-Spadina, Joe Ferreira, OPSEU Local 523 President and Rod Bemister, OPSEU Region 5 Executive Board Member.
Eb Zeidler surprised everyone by attending the rally. Zeidler is the original architect for the 96-acre park, working on the design from 1967 to 1971. He was clear in his sentiment that Ontario Place was a gift to the people and should remain public.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU, sent his support. “To the government, I say this: Until you have a firm plan, keep the park open,” he said. “And when you do come up with a plan, keep the park public.”