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

Toronto City Hall
Toronto City Hall cc licensed photo by -Jerome-

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

Toronto City Hall Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: Open 24 hours
  • Tuesday: Open 24 hours
  • Wednesday: Open 24 hours
  • Thursday: Open 24 hours
  • Friday: Open 24 hours
  • Saturday: Open 24 hours
  • Sunday: Open 24 hours

Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N1, Canada

Phone: (416) 392-2489

Official Website: Toronto City Hall

Toronto City Hall Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating During winter, the fountain area is converted into an public ice rink and is free if you bring your own skates. You also have the option to rent skates for a fee. It gets a bit busy during the weekend but the space is enough for everyone to enjoy the ice. The surface gets a bit rough with all the skaters but it's still a fun winter activity for the whole family. The area is quiet picturesque and you can take some nice picture specially at night when the Toronto sign is lit up in the dark.
Imran Shahid - 4 months ago

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5 Star Rating Last Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of visiting Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, and it was nothing short of magical. The square, already a bustling hub in the heart of the city, transforms into a winter wonderland with its skating rink. Despite the crowd, the atmosphere was vibrant and joyous, filled with the laughter and chatter of families and friends. The skating experience itself was delightful. The ice was well-maintained, perfect for both beginners and seasoned skaters. What stood out was the convenience of the rental service. It was efficient, reasonably priced, and the staff were incredibly helpful, ensuring a smooth experience for everyone. What truly sets Nathan Phillips Square apart is its iconic location. Skating with the stunning Toronto City Hall in the background, under the evening sky, is an experience you don’t want to miss. The square is not just a place to skate; it’s a place where memories are made. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, I highly recommend spending an evening here, especially during the winter season. It’s a charming, lively spot that captures the spirit of Toronto beautifully.
Victor Wong - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating Very nice. There is a lot going on, especially in the evenings. In winter there is an ice rink, which is free - only rent skates for a fee. It is nice to sit by the pool in the evening and enjoy the view of the square. It can be quite crowded on holidays and vacations. The main attraction are the letters TORONTO, which also light up at night. Wonderful place to take a photo.
diana marceta - 4 months ago

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5 Star Rating Perfect touristy spot. Get a good glimpse of modernisation. Nice for winter skating n other fun events round the year. It’s free. No tickets needed
Sindhu Priya - 2 weeks ago

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5 Star Rating Nathan Phillips Square is, to me, an emblem of Toronto. This beautifully designed square provides a glimpse of the blend of modern skyscrapers and historic buildings. It's definitely a must-visit when strolling through Toronto. For those who want to fully immerse themselves in this atmosphere, I suggest starting at Queen's Park, walking along University Avenue, and then turning onto Nathan Phillips Square. Here you will also find the famous Toronto sign.
Ginge - 3 months ago

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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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