VIDEO: Plans unveiled for $500m venue in Toronto


Details have been released for Toronto’s first new sports or entertainment venue since BMO Field opened in 2007. OverActive Media plans to complete its theatre-style entertainment venue and hotel complex in 2025, at a cost of nearly $500m.

The privately financed, purpose-built venue will be located in the heart of Exhibition Place. The facility plan is a strategic extension of the masterplan 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 planned to become the epicentre for Toronto’s future meeting place for sports, media and entertainment.

“Today is another important step in the evolution of OverActive Media,” said Chris Overholt, president and CEO at OverActive. “We are building a world-leading, 21st-century sports media and entertainment company and 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.”

The venue aims to attract premium music artists and entertainment acts

The venue aims to attract premium music artists and entertainment acts

The facility plans to host more than 200 events a year, driven primarily by premium music and entertainment bookings. It also plans to host major city-wide conventions, corporate events, product launches and awards shows, with a full slate of esports events increasing over time.

OverActive Media 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, their vision is to also elevate Toronto and Canada as a destination of choice for the global industry of gaming and esports.

“It has always been our intention to develop a venue and hosting strategy and to build a facility that could not only serve as an iconic home for our two franchises, but ultimately emerge as a global hub for major international esport events,” said Overholt. “We are already in active discussions to attract some of the biggest esport events in the world. This venue will redefine Toronto’s event hosting opportunities in every way.”

Esports events will feature among the programming at the venue

Esports events will feature among the programming at the venue

Conceived by design firm Populous, the building composition is intended to deliver an iconic architectural presence along the Toronto waterfront and reflect a modern expression of a new-age theatre for sports and entertainment.

“The design of the theatre was neither conceived as a sports arena nor an opera house, rather, a new typology that straddles the two – a state-of-the-art performance venue,” said Jonathan Mallie, senior principal and lead designer for Populous. “The theatre architecture creates a merger of the old and the new. The old, channelling 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 architecture, unique to Toronto and the world.”

“Our vision on this project from day one has been to combine a premium concert and live events programme with world-leading technology and best-in-class hospitality,” said Overholt. “We will create an unparalleled experience for our fans while being a low-net-cost producer to our entertainment partners and artists. A landmark experience and venue for a world-class city that defines a new future.”

Images: OverActive Media

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Izzy became editor of Auditoria magazine in 2018, having previously served as assistant editor on the title earlier in her career. She is also the editor of Business Jet Interiors International, Railway Interiors International and new launch Cruise Liner Interiors International. Over the course of a decade as a business-to-business magazine editor, Izzy has covered everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

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