Ontario Place Forum
Ontario Place Forum. Outdoor amphitheatre, part of Ontario Place, a provincially-operated recreational park opened in 1971 on three man-made islands off the Toronto waterfront. The Forum is circular in design and set in a basin created by four hills. Bench seating for 2500 surrounds a performance area 22.5 m in diameter. The hills accomodate another 8000 comfortably on grass, although some pop concerts have drawn audiences of more than 20,000. A revolving stage 20.4 m in diameter was introduced in 1976 to ensure an equal view from all areas of the audience.
The Forum's season runs from late May to early September, offering more than 120 concerts, and has included from the outset series by the TS (which offers among its staples Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture assisted by the guns of the HMCS Haida docked nearby), the Hamilton Philharmonic, and the National Ballet of Canada. The Ontario Place Pops Orchestra, formed under the direction of Boris Brott with musicians from the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra London, began an annual concert series in 1983. In most instances, the orchestras have featured Canadian soloists - eg, Liona Boyd on several occasions with the Hamilton Philharmonic.
The balance of the season has been given over to rock, blues, variety, multicultural, and children's concerts, making the Forum Toronto's premiere summer venue for pop music (rivalled after 1983 by the Kingswood Music Theatre in Maple, north of the city). Programming has included Canadian, US and European artists; among the Canadians such groups and individuals as the Boss Brass, The Box, Bruce Cockburn, Ronnie Hawkins, Luba, Manteca, Murray McLauchlan, the Nylons, the Parachute Club, the Ivan Romanoff Orchestra and Chorus, the Spoons, Valdy, and David Wilcox have appeared at the Forum for several years in succession. Music is also heard on various other Ontario Place stages, including the bandshell and show boat that, with the Forum, were used 1979-85 for a three-day, international jazz festival.