Ontario Place: Toronto’s Best Kept Secret

I used to visit Ontario Place a ton as a kid. Our karate camp would go on Thursdays, following the same route through the theme park. The day I found out it closed was… devastating.

But the thing is, Ontario Place actually grew with me. Just like me, they made the change from a place for kids to a haven for music fans. It’s a huge public green space with the best views of the city, music showcases all summer, and your fair share of abandoned attractions. Literally everything I’ve ever wanted in a venue. Part of me doesn’t want anyone else to know about my new fave spot in the city, but the other part of me thinks the people NEED to know. So let’s go for a lil virtual tour.

Note: I did have a sponsored post on Instagram (you could throw a like at it if you want!) but this blog post was written out of pure excitement. Not sponsored, just very emotional!!

So much to do, so much to see!

Smash Mouth time traveled to 2018, saw Ontario Place, then went back to 1999 and released All Star. It’s all right there in the lyrics. We went for a golf cart tour of the islands before wandering around and I was completely overwhelmed by how much there was to do & see. First off, there’s the music pavilion in Trillium Park (which was the main reason we went). Every Thursday & Sunday this summer, there have been musical performances and it’s wonderfulI hate going to bars/clubs and I can’t eat at most restaurants, so I never know where to hang out with friends. This is my new go to spot: there’s live music, they serve alcohol if you want it, and there’s a lil restaurant that serves surprisingly fancy meals. Plus, you can eavesdrop on the shows at Echo Beach and Budweiser Stage if you’re so inclined.

If you’re more interested in doing something active (aka if you are not me), they have tons of options. You could rent a kayak or paddleboat and enjoy the open waters. They have — wait for it — a synthetic ice rink so you can go skating year round. I love skating but I hate being cold, so I’ve decided it’s finally my time to become the next Elvis Stojko. FINALLY. They also have morning yoga classes overlooking the lake, including ones you can do with yOUR DOG WHICH MAKES ME WANT A DOG.

But back to the pavilion for a second. Sometimes they have shows. Sometimes they do yoga. I’m fighting the urge to start doing guerrilla concerts in the park with bands I love and just putting on lil acoustic gigs. I was told that when the pavilion’s not reserved, you can do whatever there… so… join me in the park for my first edition of PAIGE ON STAGE featuring people I guilt into joining me.

So much room for activities!

If you’re looking for a place to go with friends, but your friends are the type that need constant entertainment or they start whining… guess what. Ontario Place is your new best friend. They’ve got four volleyball courts (as long as there’s no show taking place on Echo Beach), a bunch of ping pong tables, and you can rent gear if you don’t have your own. The Cinesphere IMAX theatre is also open and playing tons of movies (like they’re showing 2001: A Space Odyssey this week, and there’s a Rolling Stones film I really want to see).

But perhaps your friends are the type that demand an adventure. Well… in this episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved, we’re heading out to explore the abandoned remains of the Ontario Place theme park. The log ride is dry and empty, but some say you can still hear the screams of frightened guests (no one actually says that but no one needs to know that). I can’t for the life of me remember which ride used to be in the silos, but they bring back memories of 40 kids in Dragonball Z ripoff camp tees running around in circles screaming.

They’ve also got a fire pit that you can reserve, and you can host a lil bonfire in the park! Did someone say internet friend meetup?

Doing it for the ‘gram

I love going out and finding cool spots in the city to take photos. Kelsey & Carley love it too, which is why I thought they’d be the perfect pair to join me on my park adventure. I’d heard ahead of time that there were tons of cool places to take photos within the space, and we found a ton of them. First off, the views of the city skyline are an absolute dream. That alone will keep you occupied for ages. All of the rocks placed around the park were brought in from the Canadian shield, and the plants are all native as well. One of the rocks near the fire pit has a drill hole through it that lines up EXACTLY PERFECTLY with the CN Tower. Like you can look through the rock and see the CN Tower like you’re looking through a telescope. But uhhhh check for spiders before you get too close ok because DAMN there are a lot of those leggy bois. I had a horror movie moment when I went into the bathroom near the front of the park… I looked up when I was washing my hands and had to fight not to scream bloody murder. But then we saw a BUNNY and everything was fine because NATURE IS SO COOL.

The Muskoka chairs lined up by the water close to the marina make for a good photo op as well, or just a nice place to sit and chat. I will definitely end up taking a photo on Echo Beach pretending I am very early for 5SOS’s show next week. There are more tropical looking spaces, spots that are good for events (I think it used to be the gift shops), honestly there’s just a little something for everyone. And I’m so beyond glad that I’ve found a place I like hanging out in the city where I don’t have to go into debt just to see my friends. I could but I can choose not to.

So yeah, you know where to find me now whenever the weather’s nice. Maybe even when the weather’s terrible. I just really like being here. The nostalgia factor is really cool because it’s a place I already know and feel comfortable in, but it grew and evolved with the people that loved it as kids. I work 24/7 and I know I shouldn’t, so maybe this will be my place to go and relax for a minute. During all of the CNE air shows and water shows, I feel like this is a way better place to go and take it all in without the crowds. If you’re planning on visiting the CNE at all, definitely cross the bridge and make a stop at Ontario Place & Trillium Park while you’re there.

You can check out everything Ontario Place related here and you can scream with me about it wherever/whenever.

All of these photos were taken with the 1888 app that I’m obsessed with, and edited with Unfold!