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 4.5 out of 5

5 Star Rating The Christmas market was a lovely surprise to stumble on. A nice variety of vendors, and it was great to be able to stop and have a glass of mulled wine or warm cider. Delightful!

Bronwyn Kelly - 7 days ago

5 Star Rating Stopped by the square for the Cavalcade of Lights celebration and it was very fun! Large space, not too crowded and good entertainment. Not to mention the security was very good - police were around and the streets were blocked off which made it feel very safe.

Elizabeth Johnson - 10 days ago

5 Star Rating Great place to go skating during the winter season. Outdoor rink, available skate rental for $10 and free skating all day long with a spot to buy a quick bite or hot drink if you need to warm up. Try to go during the day on the weekend as skating can get pretty crammed during the night hours Friday's and Saturday's

trillog 6ix - 14 days 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 - 14 days ago

5 Star Rating It's a must to visit place. Good to hangout, or for a break while in downtown, with nice gardens nearby and affordable underground parking compared with street parking lots. The surrounding buildings architecture is overwhelming. There are fast-food trucks around if you need a bite. Water fountains make the summer enjoyable. In the winter you can skate here, but it's usually crowded.

Bogdan Dinescu - 15 days ago


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

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