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

Directions

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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Reviews

Rated 4.3 out of 5

5 Star Rating nice place to hang out all year around, many activities year around. Summer farmers market, winter skating rink, summer Jazz performance, too many to detail here. Its a iconic Toronto symbol.

James Zu - 10 days ago

4 Star Rating I wish they didn't add the maple leaf at the end of the TORONTO sign. Looks terrible. Anyway, decent square. If it's cold, go skating. In the summer they do some farmers markets, they're not the best, but they're ok. It's a nice feature to have in the heart of the city, even if it's not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

Tim Dempsey - 19 days ago

4 Star Rating Beautifully decorated during the winter/holidays!! Loved the outdoor skating rink next to the high clock tower so you can easily watch the time and not fumble through your pockets or coat for your watch/phone. The Toronto sign is very cool, rotates colors every few seconds. Great photo opp here.

Corissa Yee - 2 months ago

4 Star Rating It is a different vibe depending on the time of year. During the Spring and Summer, and the first 2 and half months of fall, it is public space, with it being a popluar lunch spot, and there is a TORONTO sign. There is a pond during the summer. During the winter, the TORONTO sign is still there, and there is a skating rink where the pond is usually, it gets very busy during the winter. Love the rink thought! The rink does not have enough guards/aids for children! Just 6, the city needs to spend money on needed things like this, and not unnecessary things. Buy one from Canadian Tire, they're about 90, 100 or $200.

GolfFanaticEst.2005 R - 2 months ago

Video


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

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