Ontario Place opened in May 1971 and is an internationally acclaimed cultural, leisure and entertainment parkland located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

A place to stand? Or a place we can’t stand?

My brother Jim built Ontario Place, so I have a familial interest in the fate of the theme park on Toronto’s shore whose future is being loudly fought over. I also have friends on both sides of that debate.

What’s incontestable is that you should take an active interest in its future – not just because Ontario Place will likely be part of your leisure life, but because it will signal so much of what kind of city Toronto is and can be.

While Ontario Place is owned by the province, which is pushing forward on its plans for a new theme park to open as early as 2027 and serve up to five million people a year, last week Toronto’s planning department issued a critical report on the facility’s new spa in particular.

In 2019 a citizen’s group, Ontario Place for All, was formed, and Alex Bozikovic, The Globe and Mail’s architecture critic, has written a number of gloves-off reviews of the park’s design and funding. Meanwhile, Therme Group, the Austrian-based spa designers, have already made alterations to their original design.

One big question is whether Toronto’s next Mayor will support the new Ontario Place the way our last one did.

There’s a lot at stake here. Well worth some time to study up on the issues and the facts.


1. We’ve been eating sushi all wrong. No soy or wasabi. No chopsticks either, and eat and be gone in 15 minutes, please. Here are the Ten Commandments of Sushi.

2. Guns don’t kill people; gun culture does. Most Israelis have guns, but mass shootings there are rare. Italians own 8.6 million guns, but they’ve never had a single school shooting. Not one. Here’s why.

3. The most anticipated concert tours of the year. From Adele to Feist and Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift. Sadly, the only place to get your tickets is Ticketmaster.

4. What’s the link between entrepreneurs and mental illness? Pretty iron-clad. We have more ADHD than the population generally, and more substance use disorders and mood disorders. A 2019 study says 29% of entrepreneurs have ADHD, compared to 5% of Canadians generally; and 12% suffer from addiction, compared to 4%.

Speaking of crazy, I remember when I first saw this ad, which deserves ceaseless viewing.

5. If you’re going to get stabbed on the TTC…make sure you’re not in a tunnel but in a subway station, and that you’re on Line 1, and that your mobile provider is Freedom Mobile. That way, you can call 911. Otherwise, if you’re on Bell or Telus or Rogers, you’re SOL. Yes, the Montreal, New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, Chicago, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rome and later this year, Athens subways all have mobile service. Why not Toronto? Not profitable enough for Bell, Telus and Rogers. Crazy.

6. Bill Gates gets into a driverless car. In London. Gets fish and chips. Does not crash. In the same odd land, Lucia Stuart goes foraging for seaweed and Dawn O’Porter reads a complaint letter about maxi pads.

Speaking of transport, here are 15,000 words (and slider-pictures) on bikes and how they work. Speaking of $15,000, I was looking to buy an e-bike. I knew they cost more than ones without motors, say between $2,500 and $3,500. So I got online and found an e-roadbike. Just the thing, except for one thing: it cost $16,999.99. I could buy a new Chevy for $4,000 less.

7. The Guardian says sorry. One of the most respected news sources on earth, The Guardian, apologized last week about the role the British family who founded the paper in Manchester in 1821 had played in the slave trade.

As the paper’s editor, Katharine Viner wrote: “Today, we are making an important announcement about The Guardian’s origins…I remember the moment when I learned about The Guardian’s links with enslavement. We were meeting the historians who had been commissioned by the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian, to look into our past. Cassandra Gooptar, an expert on the history of enslaved peoples, had done some early work, and the evidence was inescapable: there was no doubt that The Guardian was founded with money partly derived from slavery, and the links were extensive. As editor-in-chief of The Guardian, I felt sick to my stomach.”

8. The “Restrict Act” is winding its way through Congress. We should all pay heed because “it’s ‘game over’ for all Chinese technology companies seeking to do business in the US.” This means Canada could follow, a bit, someday, possibly. Is the only Chinese thing the world can rely on be Chinese food?

9. The ultimate cruise. As the Times headline put it: “Midlifers sign up to 3-year cruise, complete with offices and mortuary.” This isn’t buying a sea-going condo for the final years of your life. It’s the ultimate base camp for mid-life digital nomads: three years, departing this November from Istanbul, visiting 135 countries and 375 ports of call.  There’s no casino on the ‘revitalized MV Gemini’. In its place is a large business centre. Plus free medical care on board and a morgue in case that care doesn’t work. The cost starts at $49,125 for a small inside cabin, which is a lot less than we’re all paying here on land, and less still than an e-roadbike.

10. Somewhere over the rainbow. Ben Platt sings it with Judith Light narrating.

11. A new helipad for my enthusiasms. Each week, I’ll end the OG blog by mentioning what I’m reading, watching, listening to, or visiting, in the hope that you’ll pick them up or click on them, or find your own way to enjoy them as I do.

I saw the most wonderful film, Turn Every Page, the story of the collaboration between Robert Caro (The Power Broker, and the multi-volume biography of LBJ) and Robert Gottleib, the most important book editor of the last 60 years (Gottleib is 90). You can get it on Apple TV. I read The Power Broker when it was first published in 1974. Since then, it has been reprinted 61 times; the audiobook version is 66 hours long.

I’m reading Barry Lopez’ luminous Arctic Dreams, the classic of natural history and travel writing. If I were a polar bear or a muskox, I’d want to find myself between Lopez’s pages.

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