TORONTO, 12/17/2023 — In an inspiring display of civic engagement, hundreds of individuals gathered this past weekend at Ontario Place along a sprawling half-mile (approximately 800m) wide plywood wall to transform it into Toronto’s biggest blackboard. Armed with chalk and a passion for public discourse, participants utilized the expansive canvas to give impromptu lectures and inscribe messages on the black hoarding fence boards.

The plywood wall, which had initially cast a dark shadow, blocking off Ontario Place for private development, took on a new and unexpected role as a hub for community education. This event emerged against the backdrop of a contentious debate surrounding the privatization of Ontario Place and the land-swap controversy involving Doug Ford, contributing to the ongoing discourse on public spaces and urban development.

The space, which has become a symbol of resistance and civic awareness, inadvertently transformed into an open-air classroom. Attendees engaged in discussions on a range of subjects, including urban studies, political science, justice, law, and public policy, turning the makeshift blackboard into an unconventional forum for intellectual exchange.

As the controversy surrounding Ontario Place continues to unfold, the plywood wall stands as a powerful testament to the community’s determination to reclaim public spaces for meaningful dialogue and collective learning, something we call “Ontario Placemaking“.

Thousands of individuals are expected to converge at the site for a special Winter Solstice gathering this coming Thursday, December 21st, at precisely 10:27 pm—the exact time of the solstice. This event promises to be a unique blend of celebration, reflection, and continued dialogue, underscoring the community’s commitment to fostering an informed and engaged citizenry.

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