Futuristic Venue Slated for Toronto’s CNE Grounds

Toronto’s Exhibition Place will be the site of a new entertainment venue and hotel complex, according to plans revealed by Overactive Media.

Designed by Populous, the futuristic building will deliver an iconic architectural presence along the city’s waterfront and reflect a modern expression of a new age theatre for sports and entertainment.

“The design was neither conceived as a sports arena nor an opera house; rather, a new typology that creates a merger of the old and the new,” says Jonathan Mallie, senior principal and lead designer with Populous. “The old channeling the rhythmic repetition of historic landmark theatres, and the new integrating the progressive forms of avant-garde 21st century design. In combination, a symbiotic balance delivers a one-of-a-kind theatre experience, unique to Toronto and the world.”

The facility plan is a strategic extension of the master plan for the region previously established by city officials. Positioned on four acres on the north side of Lakeshore Boulevard and across from the Ontario Place lands, the venue is expected to become the epicentre for what is starting to emerge as Toronto’s future meeting place for sports, media and entertainment.

“This venue will redefine Toronto’s event hosting opportunities in every way,” says Chris Overholt, OverActive’s president and CEO.

The 7,000-seat space is expected to host more than 200 events a year, driven primarily by premium music and entertainment bookings. It will also serve to attract major city-wide conventions, corporate events and product launches, awards shows and esports events.

OverActive is the owner of four major global esport franchises, including Toronto’s two professional teams — Toronto Ultra of the Call of Duty League and Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League. While this venue will be home for its two teams, OverActive’s vision is to also elevate Toronto and Canada as a destination of choice for the global industry of gaming and esports.

“This best-in-class performance venue will be the chosen home for a new generation of fans that think differently about their entertainment choices and experiences,” says Overholt.

The near $500 million venue will be the first new sports or entertainment venue to be built in Toronto since BMO Field in 2007. The project is slated for completion in 2025.


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