Photos Show Ontario Megacasino At Woodbine On Track Despite Labour Dispute

Written By C.J. Pierre on May 24, 2023
Casino Resort Toronto

Controversy is swirling around the upcoming opening of the Great Canadian Entertainment’s Casino Resort Toronto. The $1 billion facility will be the largest Canada casino when it opens later this year.

The new venue will function as the new home of Casino Woodbine at Woodbine Racetrack. However, ongoing protests orchestrated by locked-out casino employees are bringing even more attention to the project.

Officials say the current issues with staff will not slow down the launch of the province’s soon-to-be Las Vegas-style destination.

Great Canadian Casino Resort still set to open this summer

According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the new Ontario casino is on schedule to launch this summer. While no official date has been set for the opening, news should be expected relatively soon.

Construction of the venue appears to be wrapping up. PlayCanada got a look at the recent progress being made on the exterior.

Northern Dancer watches over construction at the Casino Resort Toronto at Woodbine Racetrack.
Northern Dancer watches over construction at the Casino Resort Toronto at Woodbine Racetrack. (Dave Briggs / PlayCanada)

Much of the heavy lifting on the outside appears to be done. Crews are finishing the parking lot. But there may still be plenty of work left to be done on the interior.

Casino Resort Toronto

(Dave Briggs / PlayCanada)

When finished, the resort will feature a modern Las Vegas-style casino, a 400-room hotel, a 5,000-seat live entertainment venue and multiple on-site dining options. The extensive casino floor will have 4,800 slot machines and 145 table games. Also, the hotel will have many rooms overlooking Woodbine’s racetrack.

Casino Resort Toronto

(Dave Briggs / PlayCanada)

The current Casino Woodbine location will continue operating until the larger property is ready to open. However, this ongoing dispute with the employees is still hovering over everything.

Casino Woodbine employees picketing as Union negotiations seemingly stall

Some 1,000 Casino Woodbine employees were told not to show up to work after labour discussions with their union stalled two weeks ago. Many workers have since been picketing outside the gaming property at the Woodbine Racetrack.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents over 900 workers at Casino Woodbine, with employees functioning in various roles, including table game dealers, casino cashiers and housekeepers. Union contracts for those workers expired in February, and the two sides have yet to reach a new agreement.

Meanwhile, with negotiations ongoing, Casino Woodbine management told employees to stay home until there is an agreement on new contracts. The casino remains open, with temporary staffers brought in to operate the property.

Casino Woodbine will continue operating until the new larger property is ready to open. The assumption is that if there is no new deal by the time the Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto opens, the temporary staff will be the ones on the clock for the grand opening.

Gaming at Casino Woodbine generates around $16 million annually for Toronto. The new development will bring in around $26 million to $31 million per year.

Photo by Dave Briggs / PlayCanada
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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at Play Canada. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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