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Beaches-East York MPP McMahon to host rally for Ontario Science Centre on Sunday

Beaches East-York MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon is mobilizing her constituents for a rally against the provincial government’s plan to move the Ontario Science Centre from Don Mills Road to the waterfront.

The community rally will be held on Sunday, March 3, at East Lynn Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The plan by Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government to move the Ontario Science Centre has been met with much skepticism. Many Ontarians have voiced their opposition to moving it to Ontario Place due to uncertainty about the government’s motives.

The provincial government’s position is that moving the science centre from its current location on Don Mills Road south of Eglinton Avenue is a wise business decision, but McMahon (a Liberal MPP) said that “not every tourist destination site needs to be downtown”.

“It’s better for the city as a whole, and for individual communities, to be able to have them spread out all over the city,” she said.

According to a report by Infrastructure Ontario, it would cost Ontario more money to repair the existing Ontario Science Centre than if a new facility were to be built. The report said that an estimated minimum of $396 million over the next 20 years would be required for the repairs to the science centre if it were to remain on Don Mills Road.

However, with this same report suggesting that a new facility at Ontario Place would cost just $9 million less than repairing the existing centre, many are questioning the loss of a community staple for such a small amount in net savings.

“It’s the gem of that community,” McMahon told Beach Metro Community News. “It’s been there for a long time. It’s vital in that community.”

McMahon highlighted the fact that many residents in the surrounding communities of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park rely on the Ontario Science Centre for income.

“It’s also connected to Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and accessible for out-of-town schools coming up for field trips,” said McMahon. “It’s just an iconic place and there’s no need to move it to Ontario Place – to a spa that’s been put in by a foreign company.”

Like McMahon, many Ontarians are against constructing a smaller science centre on the waterfront because it is widely seen as just another part of the Ontario government’s plans to redevelop the Ontario Place site into a large spa and water park.

“I think they’re trying to make the Therme spa proposal more palatable to people by saying ‘Hey it’s not just this bougie foreign spa going into Ontario Place, it’s also a science centre’,” McMahon said.

During the March 3 rally, residents can expect to dive into discussions surrounding the Ford government’s motives as well as how this decision could impact residents across Toronto and the province.

Joining McMahon at East Lynn Park will be Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford, Beaches-East York Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, and Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal MPP Andrea Hazell.

East Lynn Park is located on the south side of Danforth Avenue just west of Woodbine Avenue.

— Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Amarachi Amadike, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro Community News