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 5

5 Star Rating A great place to visit in summer & winter. Many free events and it's amazing to see how it transforms for different events. Home of the beautiful Toronto sign which is lit in different colours depending on what's happening. As a Torontian I often forget the beautiful spots we can visit in our own city. A must see if you are from Toronto or just visiting.

coco gen - 23 days ago

4 Star Rating Great place for tourists. The pond turns into a skating rink in the winter. The newly renovated multilevel garden behind the stage is a wonderful place to bring a date or meditate. Be careful after dark however, there has been known to be robberies and assaults in the past. Speaking from experience.

Anthony Pooran - 1 month ago

4 Star Rating Had a great view of fireworks during Canada 150 years celebration; there was plenty of fast food options available. Good for skating in the winter, but very popular. Offer skates. Often have outdoor exhibitions or festivals. Use large staircase with cover as stage. Outdoor seating around perimeters. Great for meeting and taking photos with family or friends.

Alison Urquahart - 1 month ago

4 Star Rating One of Toronto's premier outdoor venues nestled between old city hall, new city hall and the Eaton Centre, it's a must visit at least once for residents and tourists alike. Easily accessed by public transportation and with tons of underground paid parking available, Nathan Phillips Square boasts lots of room for rallies, concerts and various other events. Clean, spacious washrooms that able to adequately service the numerous events that take place on a regular basis. Plentiful food options thanks to food trucks and well known food stands including Hero Burger. Great family venue all around.

The Merchant Connection - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Really awesome place in a great city. So much cool and picture-worthy stuff here between the Toronto sign and the "UFO saucer" City Hall chambers. Cheap parking right across the street. It was busy, but everyone was polite and took their turns with the best photo ops. Great representation of city pride. If you're not from Toronto and visit here- you'll wish you're city would do something this neat.

Joe Nemec - 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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