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Plans revealed for major new arena in Toronto

Esports and entertainment organisation OverActive Media and global design firm Populous have unveiled plans for a major new arena in the Canadian city of Toronto.

The project is slated to cost C$500m (£281m/€326m/$396m) and is due to be completed in 2025. The site will be located in the heart of Toronto’s Exhibition Place district and will include a 7,000-seat arena and hotel complex.

It will mark the first new sports or entertainment venue in Toronto since BMO Field, home of the city’s Major League Soccer franchise, was built in 2007. The project is a strategic extension of the master plan for the region previously established by city officials.

The venue will be positioned on four acres on the north side of Lakeshore Boulevard and across from the Ontario Place lands. It is hoped the theatre-style arena will become the epicentre for the multi-purpose site.

The venue will be privately financed and will host music and entertainment acts from around the world, with 200-plus events per year planned. Other events will include city-wide conventions, corporate events and product launches and awards shows.

OverActive Media owns four major esports franchises, including Toronto’s two professional teams – Toronto Ultra of the Call of Duty League and Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League. The venue will serve as the home of these two teams and will also host a number of other esports events.

Chris Overholt, OverActive Media’s president and chief executive, said: “Today is another important step in the evolution of OverActive Media. 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.

“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. 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.”

Jonathan Mallie, senior principal and lead designer for Populous, added: “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. 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.”

Image: Populous/OverActive Media