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 4.5 out of 5Nathan Phillips Square Star Rating

5 Star Rating Great for sharing and bringing family and friends.. Really give a positive Toronto vibe. Especially because it's in the heart of downtown and a Toronto sign that's been put up definitely does the trick. Parking is just underneath the rink. It does get crowded but adds to the fun. Often times the ice is not the smoothest so wouldn't recommend for regular skates. The are rentals and food stands. Also a Halal hot dog stand was there. Best of all right next door to the Eaton center to go grab a bite after. Parking also is ample and one of the better prices in the downtown area.

Hasan Khan - 11 days ago

4 Star Rating This is a great place to see what's happening in the city or gather with friends/family for events. Spacious and clean. The recent addition of the "Toronto" sign is a good way to promote the city. There's always something happening here and you feel fairly safe in that area.

Tracy Q - 12 days ago

5 Star Rating The place is amazing... Especially in winter. In the park there is a big space for ice skating, and the prize is very affordable... Just $10 for two hours. Give your photo ID as a deposit and get your skates. Even there is a locker room for changing the skates. It requires 25 cents only. The lighting at night is awesome. I really enjoyed my visit here...

Jemin Suvagiya - 1 month ago

4 Star Rating Amazing downtown location with an outdoor skating rink. We arrived after the cavalcade of lights had ended but the staff was very quick to get the place cleaned up and in top notch shape. Very big and bright. A good spot to come and relax. They offer skate rentals but close around 10/11pm. Cash only and they take government issued I.D card as a deposit. Christmas tree and the dome has a picturesque feel and a good place to come relax. Free public bathrooms and a few restaurants selling food out of windows.

Amanpreet Singh - 1 month ago

4 Star Rating Amazing downtown location with an outdoor skating rink. We arrived after the cavalcade of lights had ended but the staff was very quick to get the place cleaned up and in top notch shape. Very big and bright. A good spot to come and relax. They offer skate rentals but close around 10/11pm. Cash only and they take government issued I.D card as a deposit. Christmas tree and the dome has a picturesque feel and a good place to come relax. Free public bathrooms and a few restaurants selling food out of windows.

Sh Kamal - 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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