Toronto's Old and New City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square

Toronto City Hall is a striking landmark featuring a modern architectural design which sharply contrasts the Romanesque Architecture of the adjacent Old City Hall

Nathan Phillips Square and the Toronto City Hall at Christmas
Nathan Phillips Square and the Toronto City Hall at Christmas cc licensed photo by Alex Guibord

The adjacent new and old Toronto City Halls overlook Nathan Phillips Square, a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The modern design of the New City Hall which opened in 1965, stands in sharp contrast to the 1899 architecture of the adjacent Old City Hall.

The new Toronto City Hall islocated on a large tract of land north of Queen Street West and west of Bay Street, which was the site of Toronto's first Chinatown. Much of Chinatown had to be displaced to the northwest in order to accommodate the new City Hall.

The modern design was created by Finnish architect Viljo Revell along with associates Heikki Castren, Bengt Lundsten, and Seppo Valju who won a contest to come up with the best design. The modern design consists of a rectangular base from which two curved towers rise to different heights. The circular council chambers are constructed on top of the rectangular base in between the two towers. The tallest tower reaches 27 stories (326 feet).

In front of the City Hall is a courtyard called Nathan Phillips Square featuring a reflecting pool which is used as an outdoor skating rink during the winter months, as well as the Peace Garden which serves as a memorial to the bombing of Hiroshima. The square features a weekly farmers' market, the winter festival of lights and is also used for concerts and art displays.

In stark contrast to the new Toronto City Hall and surrounding buildings, the Old City Hall sits next door and features Romanesque Architecture including a 340 foot clock tower complete with gargoyles and the third largest clock in the world. Built in 1899 this historic Toronto Building now serves as the Ontario Court of Justice.

For anyone interested in architecture, both old and new, Toronto's City Halls are a great place to explore.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2, Canada

Phone: (416) 203-2600

Official Website: Toronto City Hall


TTC Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Yonge-University-Spadina Osgoode or Queen Station3-4 Minutes

How to get to Toronto City Hall by TTC Subway

No Bus required. From Osgoode Station walk east along Queen Street West or from Queen Station walk west along Queen Street West. Nathan Philips Square and the Toronto City Hall is located on the north side of Queen Street West about half way between these two stations.

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Rated 4.3 out of 5

4 Star Rating I like the bigggg Toronto written in all different colours. Specially if you go at night sometime the colours changes. Pretty cool view. In winter you can skate also. New year eve is must watch here!!!

Pousali Roy - 3 days ago

4 Star Rating Summer time always have events going on. Underground parking is the cheapest compared to all nearby parking lot. Not too much happening during winter. It is a nice place to visit during summer time.

Hans Wu - 15 days ago

5 Star Rating Fun place to hang out. Great skating and lights in the winter. In the summer there's usually a festival or farmer's market. Great photo ops with the giant Toronto sign.

Natalie Meyer - 19 days ago

5 Star Rating Beautiful tourist spot. They have some nice scenery and a must-go stop if you're visiting. There's nothing really to do here, it's just a view spot but sometimes they have little events here and in the winter there is skating. This is the pinnacle of Toronto so go anyway!

Chanel Iancovici - 20 days ago

2 Star Rating Nothing special. Also we did skating once, and we didn't like it. There were a lot of people on a skating ring. Also, skates were soo wet after previous customers, so I didn't want to put them on. Glad that I took extra socks with me to change them after I was done with skating. I think they have to give disposable "socks" and have to think about making skates dry before giving to another customer. What's more, the changing room was super tiny for 25-30 people trying to fit into it. It was not cleaned on time so there were a lot of dirty puddles... Definitely not going there next winter.

Yuliya Suleymanova - 20 days ago


Spectacular aerial view of the fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square filmed during the Pan Am 2015 Games

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