THE CANADIAN PRESS $60M Theme Park Proposed for Toronto Area Would Offer 365 Days of Fun Angela Henessy  TORONTO – Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly says a theme park designed to offer summer 365 days a year is a “terrific” idea, but right now it’s just an idea.  The 9,300-square-metre attraction would offer sandy beaches, wave pools, cabanas, restaurants, lazy rivers, vendors and live entertainment and would be equipped with a retractable roof, allowing it to operate every day of the year.  Developers want to get the $60-million indoor-outdoor complex up and running by the fall of 2016, but Kelly’s comments suggest there are more hurdles to clear before ground can be broken.  Kelly says he talked with the proponents in January and their ideal locations are either Exhibition Place or Ontario Place, which are on the same stretch of Toronto’s lake front.  Kelly says a “considerable amount of land” would be needed for the park and he’s not sure there is room at Exhibition Place and Live Nation has the lease on Ontario Place, so a deal would have to be struck with that company before plans could be brought to the province or the city.  Developers say apart from the new Ripley’s Aquarium, there haven’t been any new major attractions in the Greater Toronto Area since Canada’s Wonderland opened more than 30 years ago, so this park is designed to fill a void in the area’s tourism market.  The developers of the marbleLive project say they’re in talks with officials in Mississauga and Toronto, looking for a location that offers the easiest access for tourists and is also an ideal site for local residents.  “We’re trying to build a crown jewel so the location really matters,” said Toronto entrepreneur John Barrack, a managing partner of marbleLive.  “After you go through the winter that we just went through you realize that you really need to give people of all ages something to do in the winter,” said Barrack.  Mark Bishop, a co-CEO at marbleLive, said their research has found that Canadians are looking for more things to do in their own backyards.  “The challenge we face as people who live in this area (GTA) is that there really isn’t a lot to do,” said Bishop.  They expect the theme park would employ 230 full-time personnel and attract more than 500,000 visitors within its first year of operation.


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New $60M GTA theme park in the works Amber LeBlanc   A new theme park that promises a taste of summer all year long could be coming to the Greater Toronto Area. While there’s no exact location for the $60-million complex – the company behind the project is considering three possible spots in Mississauga and Toronto – construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015.  The indoor and outdoor water park will open in the fall of 2016, MarbleLIVE, the developer group behind the project, said Tuesday.  “If you spend time in the GTA – and I was born and raised here – there’s a lack of things to do,” John Barrack, managing partner and co-CEO of the project, told CityNews.  “You look around and say, ‘what’s next?’”  Barrack said that cities of a comparable size, like Chicago, have similar year-round theme parks and it’s time to bring one to the GTA.  The 100,000-square-foot park would offer a retractable roof, sandy beaches, wave pools, cabanas, restaurants, a lazy river, vendors, and live entertainment.  Mark Bishop, the co-CEO of Marblemedia said the attraction “will be far from your typical water park.”  “We are going to bring our company’s expertise in digital media and storytelling to create a purpose-built digital media experience that will be the first attraction of its kind,” Bishop said in a statement.  The developers said they’re in talks with officials in Mississauga and Toronto about potential sites. They’ve also discussed the attraction with Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.  “We’ve had supportive conversations with staff in both cities – we’re not a casino, so we’re quite well received,” Barrack joked. The GTA is already home to Wonderland in Vaughan, and the Great Wolf Lodge is just a few hours away in Niagara Falls.  Barrack said the proposed theme park would offer something else.  “It’s different from the Great Wolf Lodge, which is a hotel experience. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to come here. It’s open to local people as well as tourists,” he said.  As for Wonderland, the entire park is outdoors.  “Really, that’s just three months of the year. We have a retractable roof so we can bring people outside when it’s beautiful and inside when it’s not,” Barrack said.  The venue is flexible in other ways, he said. There are plans for the site to be a “kids and family” water park during the day, and a concert or performance event at night.  The as-yet-unnamed park would have a digital component as well, so visitors can have a “before, during and after” experience. Barrack explained that before going to the park, you can plan and map out your day and later record it.  According to marbleLIVE, the theme park will employ 230 people full-time, and it expects over half a million visitors to visit the facility within its first year of operation.  As for the cost, there are no hard figures, but Barrack said season’s passes will be offered and the goal is to be affordable for both locals and tourists.


TORONTO SUN Year-round watermark planned for GTA Jenny Yuen   TORONTO - It’s being billed by its developer as “365 days of summer.”  A year-round, $60-million, 100,000-square-foot, state of the art indoor/outdoor water theme park is about to make a splash in the GTA in 2016. The project is the brainchild of marbleLIVE, the development company that claims Toronto hasn’t built a theme park this size since 1981 when Canada’s Wonderland opened.  “We’re building something that is going to be a crown jewel,” said John Barrack, managing partner of marbleLIVE and co-CEO of the project. “The GTA is underserved both from a local residents’ standpoint, but also from a tourism standpoint. What we’re trying to create is something special and next generation.”  There is a short list of three potential locations being looked at right now, but Barrack said because of “the status of negotiations,” he couldn’t disclose the sites, “but it will be in Toronto or Mississauga. The nice part of our sites is it won’t disrupt any residential areas.”  Councillor Doug Ford said he thinks the theme park would be great and suggested it should be located in the Port Lands, although Barrack declined comment.  “We need more attractions,” Ford said. “We need some more attractions for tourists to come.”  The facility will have a retractable roof and plans for wave pools, watersides, lazy rivers, splash pads, a sandy beach and cabanas. The design also features party rooms and restaurants and a space for live events.  Barrack emphasized this isn’t just a space for kids and families.  “It’s a perfect first date place,” he said. “Think about the number of older people who said their first date was at the Ex. It’s the same idea.”  People will be able to go online and select music ahead of time through the park’s Website to customize what they will listen to as they go down water slides.  “It’s fun,” Barrack said. “Pick your favourite song. Your wristband identifies you going down the slide and your tune starts to play. And because of your wristband, your photo will be taken all through that process and you’ll have a digital photo album at the end of the day or something you can upload to a secure social media site.”  Barrack said the water park is entirely privately funded, of which he is an investor. Construction will begin spring 2015 and be fully operational by fall 2016.  The company said the park will bring in 570,000 visitors in its first year and increase its numbers each subsequent year. It will also employ 230 full-time workers and hundreds of construction jobs.  “I can’t comment what it would bring in for the city, that’s something I can’t speak, but we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think it would be successful,” Barrack said.  Barrack wouldn’t divulge admission prices, but noted they would be “accessible to everyone in the GTA.”  Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Chan said marbleLIVE is speaking to his Ministry.  “We’re always open to anything that’s helping tourism and drawing people over to Ontario,” Chan said.  Canada’s overall popularity with international tourists is dropping with fierce competition from places like India, China and Brazil, he said.  The federal and provincial governments need to work together to reverse that trend, he said.  “In terms of private investment coming to Ontario, my door is open,” Chan said.  Chan did not appear enthusiastic about locating the project at Ontario Place which is currently under redevelopment, although he did not explicitly rule the possibility out.  “Ontario had a water park before,” he said.


TORONTOIST Toronto Area Could Be Getting a Giant Waterpark Sarah Sweet   If winter is as interminable and unremitting in 2016 as it has been in 2014, Torontonians might at least be able to find some warm-weather recreational relief without having to leave the country or exercise considerable ingenuity. A development group know as marbleLIVE has decided that what this city needs is access to a $60-million, 9,300-square-metre indoor/outdoor water park and event complex—with a retractable roof, obviously, so that snow squalls won’t interfere with wintertime water fun.  No site has been selected yet: the developers indicate they’re in discussions with both Toronto and Mississauga about possible locations, and have narrowed the field to three promising sites.  If and when this balmy, year-round, winter-denying complex opens, it promises “wave pools, water slides, lazy rivers, splash pads, a sandy beach, cabanas, party rooms, retail nodes, quality restaurants and live events.” We’re unclear what exactly “retail nodes” are, although they sound potentially both profitable and painful, but most of those other things sound nice—and just look at how happy those people in the video seem to be.  In unrelated news, it appears Toronto might be in for some more wintery weather and freezing rain on Wednesday—it would probably be unwise to attempt to recreate any of the scenes from this promotional video this coming Wednesday.


ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT Media Comapny plans CAD $60m water park development in Greater Toronto Helen Andrews   A CAD$60m (US$88.8m, €64m, £53.7m) water park expected to operate 365 days a year is planned for the Greater Toronto Area, with hopes construction will start in spring 2015 ahead of a 2016 curtain raiser.  The marbleLIVE project is led by Toronto entrepreneur John Barrack and marblemedia (a Canadian multi-platform content creator), who believe this summer-all-year theme park will fill a major void in the region's attractions market.  “After you go through the winter that we just went through you realise that you really need to give people of all ages something to do in the winter,” said John Barrack.  The 100,000sq ft (9,290sq m) attraction expects to feature a retractable roof – enabling it to function all year – in addition to sandy beaches, wave pools, crazy rivers, restaurants and live entertainment.  Although the location has not yet been confirmed, the developers have been in discussion with city officials and Ontario's Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to discuss the park's potential boost to local tourism.  Developers will choose between three short-listed locations to cater for the expected 500,000 visitors within its first year of operation and 230 full-time personnel.  Aside from last year's Ripley's Aquarium launch, marbleLIVE claims to be the first new attraction in the area in over 25 years.


HUMBER NEWS  Toronto Theme Park Promises 365 Days of Summer  Hugh Smith   While it may not seem like summer is around the corner, warm weather may be closer than you think. Toronto could soon be host to 365 days of summer.  That’s the goal of the team at marbleLIVE, a group dedicated to bringing an indoor and outdoor water park and theme park to the Toronto area.  John Barrack, the managing partner at marbleLIVE, teamed up with a group from marblemedia to conduct heavy research on the feasibility of a water park in Toronto.  “The overwhelming conclusion from our research was there’s just not enough to do in the GTA,” said Barrack. “This is an attempt to answer that need.”  The response is a planned 100,000 square foot water park with a retractable roof, allowing it to stay open year-round. Construction for the park will begin in 2015, with the goal of opening by the fall of 2016. Barrack says that while the name has not been announced, it will reflect the theme of the project: 365 days of summer.  Mark Bishop, co-CEO of marblemedia, said the park will be bringing a new digital media experience to its guests. He said that the guests will be able to use digital and social media to customize and enhance their experience of the park before, during and after their visit. Bishop said the park will integrate digital media in a way that will allow guests to customize the way they interact with the park.  “We really think it will fill out the experience and give them a layer of customization using digital media technology that they really haven’t seen before,” said Bishop.  Barrack said the main reason he became involved with the project was because of his son.  “I have three young boys,” Barrack said. “And one of them looked at me one day when we were down in the States at a water park and said ‘why don’t we have something like this in Toronto?’”  Like Barrack, Bishop thinks that the GTA has a major need for more big attractions. As an example, Bishop points to the fact that, aside from Ripley’s Aquarium, Toronto hasn’t had a new major attraction since Canada’s Wonderland opened in 1981.  “We do really feel that the time is right and we’re overdue for something like this for the GTA.”


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