Sites & Venues

View of Nathan Phillips Square, relfecting pool and Freedom Arches, stage, and City Hall

Welcome to Nathan Phillips Square

...where Torotontonians gather, share memories and welcome the world. It is a place where people come together in the spirit of openness.

News Highlights

The Peace Garden was relocated from the middle of the Square to the west landscaped area, adjacent to Osgoode Hall and the new Law Courts Sculpture Garden and is larger.

It is organized around a reflecting pool and set between two elevated planting areas that are filled with flowering trees and native plants. At the center, a granite bridge will span the pool and connect to the relocated Pavilion that is nestled within the trees. At the north end of the pool, a rekindled eternal flame will sit within a vessel of water that cascades into the reflecting pool.

The new Peace Garden will accommodate larger groups than the existing one, while providing more intimate spaces for smaller gatherings.

Nathan Phillips Square is a vibrant, active space in the heart of the city. Every year, over 1.5 million visitors attend a variety of community and special events hosted on the Square.

  • The skate pavilion and concession at the southwest corner of the Square provides skate rental and change room space, skating rink support facilities, a food concession, public washrooms and a generous upper level roof terrace for residents and visitors to take in the panoramic view of the Square.
  • A versatile theatre stage with an elegant roof canopy, wide stairs leading to the elevated walkway and performance support space below grade.

In order to meet the needs of tomorrow and host a greater number and variety of activities and special events, the City of Toronto revitalized its premier public space with new features.

Residents and visitors are able to skate and enjoy refreshments at a public pavilion at the southwest corner of the Square with rink support facilities, a food concession and a generous upper level roof terrace to take in the panoramic view of the Square.

Included is a versatile stage structure with an elegant roof canopy, wide stairs leading to the elevated walkways and performance support space connected below grade.

The stage joins the existing council chamber, the ceremonial ramp and the three arches as fourth defining element in Nathan Phillips Square.

Crowd in Nathan Phillips Square for PANAMANIA

New planting and landscape surfaces for the Queen Street forecourt encourage the flow of people into the square.

Nathan Phillips Square is a civic square that also serves as an event destination. Festivals of varying sizes are held throughout the year to celebrate Toronto’s cultural diversity and spirit. Events on Nathan Phillips Square are free and open to the public. These events are produced by not-for-profit or charitable organizations.

The revitalized Nathan Phillips Square houses a new, permanent stage that also acts as a landscape element and shade canopy on summer days.

During the fall, winter and spring, the stage appears as an open, urban landscape that connects to the elevated walkways. Torontonians will also be able to use the stage as a set of two-tiered urban bleachers to view the open Square.

 

Backstage Area
Behind the stage is a backstage area that accommodates an assembly area for performers, a secure holding area, technical support rooms, a stage management office, washrooms and an outdoor loading area for stage equipment. These spaces are located on stage level and are connected to the underground level by an elevator and stairs.
 

Under the Stage
Directly below the stage are all the major support spaces for the stage. This area includes the men’s and women’s change rooms and washrooms, Green Room, VIP suite, crew rooms, and separate offices for production management and visiting companies.

Sir Winston Churchill, 1977
Artist: Oscar Nemon
Media: bronze

This three-metre high, rough textured bronze statue is also known as the Winston Churchill Memorial. Prior to the revitalization, it stood at the southwest corner of Nathan Phillips Square, and now sits in the northwest corner of the Square known as Sculpture Court.

The statue was donated to the City of Toronto by the late Henry R. Jackman in 1977 and is made from the original mould of a work by Oscar Nemon that stands in the Members Lobby in the British House of Commons. At the unveiling of the original statue, Mr. Nemon said, "I was trying to express an idea of impatience and hurry, or a man wanting to see something done."

In 2002, members of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy and the International Churchill Society, Canada began to raise funds to improve the beauty and accessibility of this public space. Upon meeting with staff from the City of Toronto, the area was improved with benches, landscaping and information panels that portray a different dimension of Churchill's life and achievements.

On each side of the memorial base are four plaques.

Front
Winston Churchill
1874-1965

His faith and leadership inspired free men to fight in every quarter of the globe for the triumph of justice and liberty.

Presented to the City of Toronto by the Churchill Memorial Committee aided by the generosity of Henry R. Jackman, O.C., K.St.U, Q.C., October 23, 1977, David Crombie, Mayor, David P. Smith, President of City Council.

 

Left
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat"
May 13th. 1940

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"
Battle of Britain – August 20th. 1940

"He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle" – President Kennedy April 9th. 1963

 

Back
"Their Generals advised France's divided Cabinet 'In three weeks England will have her neck wring like a chicken'. Some Chicken! Some Neck!"
Canadian House of Commons – December 30th. 1941

 

Right
"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight on the hills; we shall never surrender".
Speech on Dunkirk, House of Commons, June 4th. 1940

Information obtained from churchillsociety.org/winston-churchill/

 

Roman Column
Media: white granite

The ancient white granite column is 2.1 metres high and was presented to Mayor Nathan Phillips by mayor of the city of Rome, Italy. Three countries are connected to the column, as the inscription on the marble tablet explains:

This unique column was presented in 1957 to Mayor Nathan Phillips, Q.C., by the Hon. Umberto Tupini, Mayor of the City of Rome as a token of friendship between the Citizens of Rome and Toronto. The column is granite (lapis syonites) known to have been quarried in Egypt between 300 and 400 A.D. for a Roman building since destroyed. It was erected on this site with assistance of the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Men's Association of Toronto and accepted by Mayor William Dennison in 1967.

Information obtained from Creating Memory, by John Warkentin.

 

"Peace Through Valour" Monument
Artist: Ken Lum

The space behind the Sir Winston Churchill statue is being prepared for this monument, which honours the Canadian soldiers who fought in the Italian Campaign in WWII.

The Peace Through Valour Monument presents the 3D printed bronze topographical map of the town of Ortona, where Canadian soldiers fought the fiercest battle in the Italian Campaign, and achieved one of the greatest victories in WWII.

Ortona was a beautiful medieval coastal town on the Adriatic Sea that was reduced to ruin and devastation upon the conclusion of the campaign. The renowned Canadian artist Charles Comfort painted several paintings of the destroyed Ortona, and it is from these paintings that the artist Ken Lum drew his inspiration and ideas.

At each of the four corners of the map a less than life size bronze statue of a Canadian soldier stands in vigil, as if contemplating the cost of freedom regained in war through human sacrifice and loss of built cultural heritage.

The Peace Through Valour Monument is being donated to the City of Toronto by Villa Charities and the Italian Community.

Information obtained from artist Ken Lum's concept proposal.

How to book Nathan Phillips Square for your event

Additional Information

Green Podium Roof at Toronto City Hall

Going Green: From concrete roof to public garden

The City Hall podium roof, where visiting dignitaries were once welcomed to this great city, was revived and re-introduced as the new Podium Green Roof - Toronto’s largest publicly accessible green roof.

Aerial view of the revitalized Nathan Phillips Square (artist rendering)

Urban Forest and Sustainable Square

Torontonians can celebrate, gather, be heard, and live green in the heart of a city that strives to be one of the greenest on the planet. The revitalized Square features an increase in the number of trees on the Square to create an urban forest in the middle of downtown Toronto. 

View of Nathan Phillips Square that shows a bit of the snack pavilion, theatre stage, City Hall and the reflecting pool

Awards

A list of awards won by various components of the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization project.