City Hall & Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

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  • freddie18's Profile Photo

    Toronto Landmark - City Hall at the Square

    by freddie18 Updated Jan 25, 2009

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    Toronto City Hall
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    The Toronto City Hall is within the Nathan Phillips Square in Downtown Toronto. The square is named after Nathan Phillips, the Mayor from 1955 to 1962.

    This tourist attraction became popular to both tourists and Canadians. The locals congregate around the pool to relax and people watch in the summer time and enjoy the Peace Garden in the middle. It is also at this season of the year when free concerts, dance performances and art exhibition are being held. You will also enjoy winter season in Toronto. The pool is being used and transformed as an outdoor skating rink. Please be aware that there are skates for rent in a small building at the square.

    In one of the photos I posted here, you will see the arches over the pond or ice rink. This is called the Freedom Arches that was built in the Year 1989. There are still a lot to see at the Square to make your stay in Toronto a memorable one. Other tourist attractions can be reached on foot if you enjoy walking.

    Come visit Toronto and I will show you around the downtown core including the most visited Nathan Phillips Square and The New Toronto City Hall.

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  • freddie18's Profile Photo

    Toronto's Old City Hall

    by freddie18 Updated Jan 25, 2009

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    A View of the Old Toronto City Hall
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    It has to be noted that the tourist spot in the intersection of Bay & Queen Streets which is known as the Old City Hall is the third built by the City of Toronto. The first city hall was burned down. The second is located inside the St Lawrence Market. The third is the popular Old City Hall. The fourth is the current or New City Hall. The Old City Hall was designed by EJ Lennox in 1887 to fit central site at head of Bay Street. In one structure, these municipal buildings combined on City Hall in the east portion and Court House in the west. The building, constructed mostly of sandstone from Credit River Valley was begun in 1889. Massive, round arched, and richly carved. It is in the Romanesque Revival style then popular in expanding cities throughout North America. The interior, as complex and monumental as the exterior, includes a large stained glass. One of the highlights of the Old City Hall is the Clock Tower which measures 300 feet tall. On Decembeer 31, 1900, the bells rang for the first time the largest of which is called Big Ben weighing 11,648 pounds. Come visit the Old City Hall of Toronto and the other "must see" attractions are just within walking distance.

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  • kris-t's Profile Photo

    Old City Hall

    by kris-t Written Mar 27, 2006

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    Old City Hall
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    Toronto's Old City Hall was home to city council from 1899 to 1966 and remains one of the city's most prominent structures. It is at the corner of Queen and Bay Streets, opposite the new City Hall in the centre of downtown Toronto. It has a distinctive clock tower which can be seen the whole length of Bay Street from Front to Queen.

    Work on the Romanesque Revival building designed by E.J. Lennox began in 1889. Lennox "signed" his name in scrollwork around the first floor exterior. When it opened on September 18, 1899 it was the largest building in Toronto, and the largest municipal building in North America.

    Toronto City Council moved to the new city hall in 1965, and soon after plans were made to start construction of the Eaton Centre. The original plans called for old City Hall to be knocked down and replaced by a number of skyscrapers, leaving only the cenotaph (or in one plan, the clock tower) in the front. Public outcry forced authorities to abandon these plans, and today the building is the home of the municipal courts.

    An annex to this building, Manning Chambers, was demolished to make way for the current Toronto City Hall.

    At the foot of the front steps on Queen Street is the Cenotaph, erected to honour the dead from World War I and World War II during Rememberance Day cermonies every November 11.

    The building is sometimes used to film movies and television shows, such as This is Wonderland.

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    Toronto's Old City Hall

    by Paul2001 Updated Jan 16, 2007

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    The Old City Hall, Toronto

    This is actually the third city hall in Toronto. It is in my opinion one of the finest Neo-Romanesque buildings in North America. During the late 1800's it was decided that the present town hall was too small and a larger building was required. This new structure would act both as the municipal centre of the town and as the towns courthouse. The buildings was constructed over an eleven year span from 1888 to 1899 according to the design of Toronto architect, E.J. Lennox. At the time of its completion the City Hall was the largest municipal building in North America.
    The exterior of the building is adorned with brilliant red stonework that can rarely be matched anywhere in the Americas. Some of the figures depicted on the facade are quite grotesque and are said to be of city councillors whom Lennox had fight with over budgeting. The most notable obvious feature of the Old City Hall is the dominating 103.6m high clock tower. Four gargoyles now sit peering out from the tower, overlooking Queen Street.
    The interior of the Old City Hall has many interesting features such as mosaics, murals and stained glass windows.
    There was talk of demolishing the old structure when Toronto built it's latest City Hall but wiser heads prevailed and the Old City Hall still stands. It still is an active courthouse. I even have had to go to court here a couple of time to bear witness in a couple of criminal cases.

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    Toronto City Hall

    by coolpanda87 Updated Feb 28, 2004

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    Toronto City Hall @ night

    Probably more famous than the unusual "spaceship" shaped Toronto City Hall is its popular outdoor skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square. Many events are held at Nathan Phillips Square throughout the year, & it is a constant place of fun & excitement. In the summer, the skating rink is converted into a water fountain.

    Designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell, Toronto city hall stands as a contrasting post-modern building surrounded by comtemporary architecture. It was originally envisioned to be an eye with the two towers acting as eyelids. However, now it is now widely known as the UFO, the flying saucer, or the burrito.

    Outside, there is the Peace Garden, which offers a green respite from the bustle of the city. The garden is home to the eternal flame lit by Pope John Paul II from an ember of the Hiroshima Memorial, as well as Henry Moore's sculpture "The Archer".

    Though not all of City Hall is accessible by public, you can pop in at the lobby anytime & view any displays designated for public enjoyment. Also, during Council meetings, you could enter Toronto's Council Chamber, a public area that accomodates 300 people. From here, you can hear fierce debates & arguments as Toronto councillors plot the future course of this city. Especially those who are curious about democracy, you could see it all in action @ Toronto City Hall. Everyone here is free to speak the mind and express their opinions on any issue that concerns the city.

    In the middle of the first floor rotunda is a Golden Book of Remembrance, where the names of 3500 Torontonians who died in WWII are inscribed. Along the east wall of the rotunda, just inside the front door, is artist David Partridge's Metropolis, a mural made entirely of nails. On the West side rotunda, a scale model of the area of Toronto is on view. It allows visitors to locate landmarks, historic sites & future development that is taking shape in the core of the city.

    On the second floor is offices of 44 Toronto city councillors & of the Mayor of Toronto.

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  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo

    Activities galore at Nathan Phillips Square

    by Faiza-Ifrah Written Oct 26, 2007

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    A music concert in progress (August)
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    We found Nathan Phillips Square to be a lively public gathering place located immediately in front of Toronto City Hall on one side and the Shearaton Gardens on the other, on the northwest corner of Queen and Bay Streets.

    The Square is named for Nathan Phillips, who was Mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962.

    In summers we have found people gathering here to watch music concerts or just to relax by the pool and take pictures of the surrounding buildings. We have regularly visited the Square in the summers to watch concerts and parades of various groups (see pictures).

    In winter, the pool is transformed into a popular outdoor skating rink (see pictures).

    We visited Nathan Phillips Square when it hosted a spectacular display of fireworks and light last year, which it routinely does every year on Saturday nights starting late-November (see pictures). Participating neighbourhoods around the city also display dozens of colourful light patterns.

    Ample underground parking is available and at very economical rates.

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  • CdnJane's Profile Photo

    Combination of the Old & New Architecture Styles

    by CdnJane Updated May 3, 2004

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    One place that is always fun to show off, are the Twin buildings of "New City Hall" at Nathan Phillips Square. It is actually not really the city hall anymore as there is Metro Hall down on King Street at John Street. However, because of the older city hall with the more classical architecture of the 1800s across Bay Street from Nathan Phillips Square, known as "Old" City Hall - we still tend to refer to it as "New" City Hall.
    I didn't really take a picture of the curved towers, or of Old City Hall - just took a picture of some of the architectural features.

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square

    by Paul2001 Updated Jan 24, 2007

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    The City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square

    Back in the late 1950's it was decided by Nathan Phillip's, the first Jewish mayor of Toronto that it was necessary to build a new administrative building to run the city's affairs. A world-wide contest was held for the design. It was won by Finnish architect, Viljo Revell who sadly did not live to see the new City Hall's opening on September 13, 1965.
    The building consists of two carved concrete towers that surround a flying saucer shaped chamber where the local city council meets. This chamber seats 300 people so if you want to see Toronto's local elected officials in action, then feel free.
    Before the City Hall a square has been laid out now named after Mr. Phillips. The square is very busy with locals from the business district who come here to relax during the lunchtime period on hot summer days. There is a large reflecting pool in the square which during the winter month is turned into a skating rink that is very popular. Skates can be rented at a kiosk. There are also several gardens spread out throughout the square and a large sculpture created by Henry Moore known as "The Archer". Festivals and concerts are frequently held in the square. This includes the Toronto Jazz festival which is held in late June.
    On the downside, the square has been inhabited by scores of homeless people of late. However recent legislation has been passed that will hopefully clean up this problem.

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  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Old City Hall

    by mim95 Updated Sep 28, 2003

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    The Clock Tower of the Old City Hall of Toronto

    The Old City Hall was built in 1899 by E.J. Lennox, a Toronto architect whose work included the Casa Loma and the King Edward Hotel.

    You have to go up close to the building to truly admire this masterpiece, as there are lots of detailed stone works and carvings, especially in the front entrance. It was the City Hall of Toronto until 1965, when the new city hall was completed.

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  • shohman's Profile Photo

    more walking

    by shohman Written Sep 28, 2005

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    This pic was taken on Queen street shortly before the sun came up. As I mentioned before, even though I rarely step foot in one, I love churchs. For some reason I like clock towers too, so this had both. The pic did come out dark, but I kind of like it that way.

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  • Imaniac's Profile Photo

    City Hall

    by Imaniac Written May 17, 2004

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    The Toronto City Hall is one of the most beautiful pieces of modern architecture I have ever layed my eyes upon. It looks really beautiful with ity's ingenious curves. It was built in 1965 by a Finnish architect.

    In the park surrounding the City Hall you can enjoy free concerts in the summer, or go ice skating in the winter.

    Besides the main lobby, the building is not accessable for the public.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Old City Hall

    by Dabs Written Oct 29, 2005

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    If you have a chance pop inside the Old City Hall, an interesting Romanesque style building dating back to 1899. City Hall was moved to a nearby modern building 1960s, the Old City Hall was converted to a courthouse. Since it is a courthouse, you are required to go through metal detectors to get a look at the interior and no interior photos are allowed.

    Things to look for inside the building include the wrought iron dragon like (perhaps griffins) grotesques near the base of the Grand Staircase, removed from the building in 1947 but reclaimed by the city in the 1980s; the stained glass windows, depicting the union of industry and commerce symbolizing Toronto's evolution into a bustling metropolis, as you walk up the Grand Staircase; the marble war memorial beneath the stained glass window dedicated to citizens who lost their lives during WWII; the beautiful mosaic floor and the murals painted by George Reid. The website also says the former city council chambers are open to the public when court is not in session but the door was shut when I went.

    On the outside of the building, it's hard to miss the clock tower and when you enter the building from the Queen St. side check out the grotesques on the arches, said to be caricatures of politicians from the late 19th century. I didn't know to look for Edward Lennox's face among them (he was the architect who also built Casa Loma), on the west side of the center arch, identified by his handle-bar mustache.

    I thought this was one of the coolest buildings I saw in Toronto, thank heavens they didn't raze it to build the Eaton Centre!

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  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Nathan Philips Square & the City Hall

    by mim95 Written Sep 28, 2003

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    A child enjoying the pool at Nathan Philips Square

    The City Hall was built in 1965 by a Finnish architect named Viljo Revell. A modern design made up of two curved office buildings and a circular structure in the center, where the city council sits.

    Nathan Philips Square, situated in front of the City Hall, is a popular spot for free concerts, festivals and skating in winter, when the pool is turned into a skating rink.

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  • msison's Profile Photo

    Nathan Philip Square

    by msison Written Jul 24, 2003

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    Nathan Philip Square

    I had the pleasure to go to Nathan Philip Square during Winter Festival. It was a great sight to see. So many people just enjoying a good time.

    Ice Skating in the center of the square was wonderful. It is right in front of Toronto's Civic district.

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  • windsorgirl's Profile Photo

    Toronto City Hall

    by windsorgirl Updated Sep 28, 2004

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    Toronto City Hall

    Completed in 1965, this uniquely designed City Hall resembles two boomerangs enclosing a spaceship. The "spaceship" is actually the saucer shaped Council Chambers, while the "boomerangs" are two curved office towers of unequal height.

    In front of City Hall you wil find Nathan Phillips Square which becomes a public skating rink in the winter time.

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