MGM Resort's Vision is best for Toronto
"That brings us to Exhibition Place and MGM Resort's proposal to spend up to $4 billion to build a resort casino there. I spoke to Steve Wolstenholme, the Canadian representative for MGM resorts, and he was happy to give me some indication of the company's casino vision. "We want to create an integrated resort that Torontonians will be proud of," Wolstenholme said. "We don't just want to just offer a box of slots." Wolstenholme added that MGM's vision would see a hotel, a world class entertainment venue and dining. The casino space would take up less than 10% of the venue but is an integral part of the plans. At the same time MGM wants to work with existing hotels and restaurants to ensure that all local businesses in Toronto benefit. "Maybe one time someone would stay at our hotel and the next time they would go to a partner hotel in the city. We would encourage that." Wolstenholme also acknowledged that the CNE is a Toronto legacy and MGM would prefer to incorporate the history of the CNE into the development. That would mean keeping Rico Coliseum, BMO Field and the Metro Trade Centre and MGM would likely work with the Toronto Marlies and Toronto FC soccer teams to help promote their products as well. As for parking and transportation, MGM is willing to do whatever it must to ensure that those issues will not be a concern. "The free flow of traffic is essential to the success of the resort, and MGM wants to ensure that happens. We want to be part of the solution," Wolstenholme said. In fact the comment "we want to be part of the solution," was stated throughout the interview. Whether it means helping create a fast link from Union Station to the CNE grounds, whether it means creating a private-public partnership on subways, or whether it means offering courses at local colleges to help create industry jobs, MGM Resorts plans to be part of that solution. And the company has the resources and experience to do so.
MGM also wants to make sure that the surroundings of the integrated resort are appealing and thus believes that the beautification of Ontario Place should be incorporated into the project. Consequently MGM's vision would see a green space at Ontario Place and a large family area. That is precisely what John Tory, who was given the job of deciding what to do with Ontario Place, has stated he would like to see. Again the redesign of the surrounding areas and creating a family friendly environment at Ontario Place is being considered as part of the solution."
"The decision on whether Toronto wants to host a casino now wrests with Toronto council. The MGM casino would create upwards of 5,000 construction jobs and approximately 8000 jobs at the resort. "And these are good, well paying jobs too," Wolstenholme said. The resort is expected to take 3-4 years to build but would hopefully be done with minimal disruptions. Mayor Rob Ford wants the casino in Toronto as do many citizens but many of councillors currently do not. The province has stated that they would not force a casino on any city that doesn't want it but councillors have to look at the potential revenue from all the casino proposals and truly decide what is best for the city. And they need to do so without the silly misconceptions that it would lead to red light districts or an increase in gang activity. If the councillors did their homework and looked at the facts they would conclude that this is an opportunity that Toronto just can't pass up. And of all the casino proposals, MGM's vision is by far and away the best for all Toronto residents."