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Populous and OverActive Media unveil updated plans for performance venue in Toronto


All images courtesy Populous

All images courtesy Populous

Entertainment company and developer OverActive Media (OAM) has unveiled updated plans for their Populous-designed entertainment venue and hotel complex. OAM has secured lease terms approval from the Exhibition Place Board of Governors in Toronto, allowing for a final review and approval by the Toronto City Council later this year.

The $500 million project was first unveiled at the end of February. It will be located on a 4.5-acre site in the heart of the historic Exhibition Place, a publicly owned mixed-use district in Toronto. Along with general entertainment, such as concerts, the venue will host conventions, corporate events, awards shows, and serve as an esports arena. It will be the home for Toronto’s two professional esports teams, the Toronto Ultra of the Call of Duty League and Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League, both owned by OAM. 

The 7,000-seat venue will sit along the waterfront, offering open public space, along with views and pedestrian access. Its dynamic form will be complemented by a series of stacked volumes comprising the hotel and its internal functions. A green roof is also planned for the venue. The hotel tower will offer unobstructed 360-degree views of the area, including Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. An indoor privately owned public space (POPS) will sit between the venue and the hotel, allowing for additional programming opportunities. 

“Over the past several months, we’ve had the opportunity to engage with OverActive Media, the Exhibition Place Board of Governors and the City of Toronto to carefully choreograph the relationship between the venue, the hotel and a new urban room that connects the two,” said Jonathan Mallie, Senior Principal and lead designer for Populous. “The design has evolved to further integrate a dynamic building program and expression into the fabric of Toronto.”

If approved, the project is expected to complete in 2025. OAM anticipated the facility will host more than 200 events a year.

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