Nathan Phillips Square is a bustling urban plaza in summer and the site of Toronto’s largest ice-skating rink in winter. As one of the city’s most popular public spaces, it's the epicentre of culture, community and sustainability in Toronto, making it one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Since its opening in 1965, Nathan Phillips Square has attracted over 1.5 million visitors every year. Named after a former mayor of Toronto and located in front of City Hall on Queen Street in Downtown Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square plays host to a range of events throughout the year. From outdoor exhibitions to ice-skating rinks, farmers’ markets and dance performances, there’s plenty to see and do when visiting Toronto’s metropolitan bazaar.
Toronto’s greatest public space is a rectangle with the regal new City Hall and Old City Hall buildings looming in the background. Features of the Square include the Peace Garden, reflecting pool, permanent stage and several prominent sculptures.
The reflecting pool in the south-east corner of the square has three impressive concrete arches named the Freedom Arches in 1989, with the central one featuring a piece of the Berlin Wall at its base. During summer months the reflecting pool is a popular spot for visitors to the Square to – you guessed it – sit and reflect.
In winter the reflecting pool is transformed into an ice-skating wonderland, with skates available for hire at the adjacent pavilion. The Peace Garden was opened in 1984 as a memorial to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and as a symbol of the commitment of Toronto’s people to the importance of world peace.
Nathan Phillips Square is open to the public year round. When not being used for public events, it is frequented by curious tourists and Toronto locals, who come to enjoy the sense of civic pride and togetherness the Square is known for. Whether you’re visiting in summer or winter, make sure you take some time to reflect in the Peace Garden, or simply enjoy sitting in the Square and watching as the world passes you by.