It has now been exactly 50 years since Nathan Philips Square opened to the public. In the years that followed its opening the square would be the hub of municipal politics, a centre for socializing with friends and family, and a host of various cultural and public events. With millions of visitors annually, Nathan Philips Square was showing its age a decade ago when the City of Toronto decided to hold a design competition in order to renew it. In 2007 the winners were announced as Plant Architect and  Perkins + Will, looking to update the square while staying true to the vision of original architect Viljo Revell.

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Pirkins + Will, Plant Architects A view of Nathan Phillips Square from its new stage, image by Craig White

The Revitalization of Nathan Phillips Square has now progressed significantly with the first and second phases, which consisted of the demolition of the Peace Garden, the installation of gas, power, security, water and communication infrastructure below the square, and the waterproofing of the underground garage, being completed. The third and fourth phases of the revitalization began in the summer of 2013 and are nearing their completion.

Much change has taken place when compared with what was done as of our last update back in November. With the Peace Garden relocated to the west side of the site, we can now see in the image below that the planting at the garden has begun and new plants and trees are taking root.

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Pirkins + Will, Plant Architects Peace Garden area at Nathan Phillips Square, image by Craig White

In the image below, we can see the construction of a reflecting pool that the Hiroshima memorial stands over. An eternal flame will be placed below the spot of the missing pillar. The paving of this area is starting now.

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Pirkins + Will, Plant Architects Reflecting Pool in construction, image by Craig White

"The Archer", a sculpture crafted by British artist Henry Moore can be seen, in the image below, getting its annual torching to keep it looking good. 

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Pirkins + Will, Plant Architects The "Archer" receiving its annual torching, image by Craig White

With the third and fourth phases of the revitalization nearly complete, Torontonians must still wait before a restaurant will be built in the square's southwest corner. The date for that has slipped off into the future.

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Pirkins + Will, Plant Architects Rendering of a restaurant at Nathan Phillips Square, image courtesy of Plant Architecture

Additional information and renderings can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Projects & Construction Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.