On September 13, 1965 Toronto awoke to the grand opening of Nathan Philips Square and new City Hall. Viljo Revell's landmark design was selected out of a competition of over 500 entries. After 4 years of construction, dignitaries from across the city and country joined the public to commemorate the opening. Nearly 50 years on, residents, tourists and award-winning artists still take to the square to express themselves and enjoy Revell's masterpiece.

Overview of Revitalization components, image courtesy of City of Toronto

In 2007 the city announced the winning team to lead the Revitalization of Nathan Phillips Square. The ambitious plan by Perkins + Will and PLANT Architect includes a new rooftop garden (completed in 2010), stage (completed 2013), skate pavillion (completed 2011), disappearing water feature (completed 2012), a relocated Peace Garden, a new restaurant, renovated walkways, and enhanced landscaping and greenery. While many of the remaining projects have been started, some progress has been slowed as crews have had to deal with unexpected engineering hurdles, political bickering and uncooperative weather.

Podium Roof Garden at Nathan Phillips Square, image courtesy of PLANT Architect

The City has announced the next phase of work on site will commence Monday, August 26, 2013 with full completion expected by the end of 2014. There are 3 main components to the remaining work. Firstly, the relocated Peace Garden will be completed with a rebuilt memorial, new plants, a reflecting pool and a rekindled eternal flame. The new larger Peace Garden will complement the adjoining Law Courts Sculpture Garden and Osgoode Hall.

Relocated Peace Garden with spring blossoms, image courtesy of City of Toronto

New Peace Garden landscaping, reflecting pool and eternal flame, image courtesy of City of Toronto

Along the Queen Street West Forecourt, new landscaping will replace the current mud and grass with new trees, stone paving, and benches. Space for the food trucks and coach buses will be maintained and the current vent shafts will be replaced with a less imposing version. The design is meant to engage pedestrians on Queen and make the Square's entrance more attractive.

New Queen Street West Forecourt, image courtesy of City of Toronto

The statue of Winston Churchill formerly just north of Queen will be moved to the northwest quadrant of the square amongst new greenery, while entrances to the PATH system and parking garage will be enhanced as well with refurbished staircases, elevators and landscaping.

Once this phase of work is complete, the only remaining piece will be the new restaurant. The construction and opening date are all unknown and contingent on the city securing an operator for the new space.

Overhead view of the completed project, image courtesy of City of Toronto

As this phase of construction proceeds on the revitalization of Nathan Phillips Square, UrbanToronto will keep a close eye and bring the latest updates. Check out our dataBase page, linked below, for more information and renderings. Leave a comment below, or join the discussion in our associated Forum thread to have your opinion heard.

Related Companies:  City of Toronto, DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LiveRoof Ontario Inc, Perkins + Will, Plant Architect