Plans for $500M esports and entertainment complex in Toronto

Monday, February 22, 2021

The design firm responsible for various Olympic Games’ venues and Super Bowl stadiums will be manifesting a $500-million, 7,000-seat performing arts and esports complex in downtown Toronto, smack in the heart of the CNE Grounds and the first new sports or entertainment venue built in Toronto since BMO Field in 2007.

OverActive Media, owner of four major global esport franchises, including Toronto’s two professional teams, Toronto Ultra and Toronto Defiant, announced details today about its plans to build the privately-financed facility in collaboration with architect Populous. The aim is to create a home for the two teams by 2025, while positioning Toronto and Canada as the “destination of choice” for the global gaming and esports industry.


Positioned on four acres on the north side of Lakeshore Blvd., and across from the Ontario Place lands, the complex will extend off a master plan the city already put in motion. The project will be also feature premiere music artists and entertainment acts, with plans to incorporate a hotel complex and host 200-plus events per year. It also hopes to attract major city-wide conventions, corporate events and product launches, awards shows and a full slate of esports events increasing over time.


“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 OverActive’s President and CEO Chris 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.”

The building will overlook the Toronto waterfront and reflect a modern expression of a new age theatre for sports and entertainment.

“The theatre architecture creates a merger of the old and the new,” said Jonathan Mallie, senior principal and lead designer for Populous. “The old channeling the rhythmic repetition of historic landmark theatres, and the new, integrating the progressive forms of avant-garde twenty-first-century design. In combination, a symbiotic balance delivers a one-of-a-kind theatre experience, unique to Toronto and the world.”


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