Friday, August 17, 2012

Allegations of Outdated Data Prompting Ontario Place Closure

Toronto, Canada -- An editorial in The Toronto Star cites documents that differ in attendance and revenue figures than those reported by the Ontario government at the time the park was suddenly closed in February.

"Surprisingly....the Ontario government cited only outdated statistics when it announced it was shutting down the park, arguing it was costing up to $20 million a year, was underutilized and was suffering huge declines in attendance.

"The sharp discrepancy between what the McGuinty government told the public when it closed the park and the documents obtained by the Star raises serious questions about why Queen’s Park acted so quickly to close most of the park, including the water attractions and Cinesphere.

"...Last February when they announced the closure, Duncan and Chan said the province would save $20 million annually, that crowds has dropped from 3.2 million a year in the 1970s to barely 300,000 in 2010. They also suggested most of the facilities were obsolete. The closure resulted in the loss of 48 full-time jobs and 600 summer positions.

"...However, the documents obtained by the Star show Ontario Place attendance in 2011 actually rose 89 per cent over 2010 levels. They also show revenues from rides, ground admissions, concessions and retail sales and Cinesphere tickets also increased dramatically last year.

"Importantly, the documents indicate the park was on track to operate at a break-even point by 2015 — just three years from now.

"Also, they show that Ontario Place was about to enter the 2012 season with plans to drive attendance and revenues even higher, largely due to more than $10 million in improvements approved by Queen’s Park in areas such as the popular water park and Cinesphere."