In the early 1980s a coalition of Peace activists petitioned the then-Mayor Art Eggleton to erect a Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall. Coinciding with the City’s sesquicentennial, the self-contained garden was inserted right in the middle of Revell’s square. In addition to becoming run-down over the years, it was regularly trampled as its position made it a serious impediment to larger activities on the square.

The new Peace Garden at Nathan Phillips Square, relocated to the west side of the raised walkways, creates both a significantly larger place for Peace contemplation and protest, and, a key infrastructural element in the larger conception and strategy for the Square. The Peace Garden is self-contained, yet also acts as a giant staircase to gain access to the upper walkway and new Theatre; it frames a new north-south enfilade of activated landscapes connecting Queen Street to the Law Courts; and, with its tipped planes, covers and acoustically tempers a major exhaust vent from the parking garage below. It transforms an area that was a noisy back-of-house landscape into a calm and richly planted destination to linger in.

The garden at night looking east (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The garden at night

The two angled, stepped planting planes echo the form of two cupped hands – framing a space focused on the project of peace. They enclose a flexible space suitable for the large annual ceremonial events, classroom-sized groups, everyday lingering, and reinstate the original and restored Peace Pavilion and its iconography, with a new flame and water cauldron set within a reflecting pool. The bronze cauldron symbolically contains the water brought from Nagasaki, with an eternal flame – kindled in Hiroshima – supporting the open corner of the Pavilion. The pavilion is reached via a bridge made with granite from the original garden.The Garden is open to the main Square to the north and east, maintaining the visual connection between the Eternal Flame and the Mayor’s office, part of the original Garden’s rationale. Large engraved concrete thresholds with stainless steel letters at the north and south announce the name of the garden, and a bridge crosses between the ginkgos – clearly indicating passage into something special and separate from the main Square.

The bridge from the theatre to the peace garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The bridge from the theatre to the peace garden
Lunch time on the bleachers (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Lunch time
Looking south through the pavilion (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Looking south through the pavilion
The eternal flame and pool (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The eternal flame and pool
Stair to the raised walkway (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Stair to the raised walkway
City staff enjoying the garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
City staff enjoying the garden
Late spring colours (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Late spring colours
Planting and lighting in the stepped garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Planting and lighting in the stepped garden
Looking through the garden towards the theatre (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Looking through the garden towards the theatre
Hawk in the garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The Garden attracts people and fauna
Rededication ceremony (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Rededication ceremony

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Garden
  4. Airdrie Road Residence
  5. Albany Avenue Residence
  6. Alexandra Park
  7. Aporia Records
  8. Asphalt Poetry
  9. – Poem
  10. Baby Point Gardens
  11. Beach Garden
  12. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  13. Beaty Residence
  14. Bennington Heights Garden
  15. Berkeley Street Residence
  16. Bin-Scarth Garden
  17. Blink and you miss it.
  18. – Poem
  19. Bloor St. Apartment
  20. Blue Note
  21. Booth Avenue Residence
  22. Boustrophedon Garden
  23. Braemore Gardens Residence
  24. Browning Avenue Residence
  25. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  26. Camp Arowhon Offices
  27. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  28. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  29. Chocolate Loft
  30. City Instrument
  31. Clarendon Garden
  32. Conversation Piece
  33. Creemore Farm
  34. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  35. Dickson Park Garden
  36. Dilworth Residence
  37. Don Landing Revitalization
  38. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  39. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  40. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  41. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  42. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  43. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  44. Elizabeth Fry Society
  45. Ellsworth Residence
  46. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  47. First Avenue Garden
  48. First Avenue Residence
  49. Flyover Canada
  50. Foote’s Pond Wood
  51. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  52. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  53. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  54. Gormley Garden
  55. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  56. Greener P
  57. Greer Road Garden
  58. Greer Road Residence
  59. Guelph Bridge
  60. Head in the Clouds
  61. Helena Ave Residence 4
  62. Junction Craft Brewery
  63. Kelpies Competition
  64. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  65. Kipling & Islington Developments
  66. Le jardin du repos
  67. Lenticular Curtain
  68. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  69. Liberty Village Parkettes
  70. Liza’s Garden
  71. Lynwood Garden
  72. Macroscape
  73. Markham Garden One
  74. Markham Street Residence Two
  75. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  76. Mulock Park
  77. Nathan Phillips Square
  78. – Streetscape
  79. – Peace Garden
  80. – Podium Roof Garden
  81. Orchard View Garden
  82. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  83. Owl Cottage
  84. Paperstone Scissors
  85. Peripheral Sitings
  86. Pottery Road Crossing
  87. rare
  88. Ravine Forecourt
  89. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  90. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  91. Roxborough Garden One
  92. Roxborough Garden Two
  93. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  94. Ryerson University Science Building
  95. Schulich School of Business
  96. Sheridan College
  97. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  98. Spadina Quay Wetland
  99. St. Anne's Road Garden
  100. Stratford Market Square Competition
  101. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  102. Superkids Dental
  103. Superlegible
  104. Sweet Farm
  105. Sweet Farm Pond House
  106. Swift Medical Offices
  107. The Meadows Reconsidered
  108. The Red Sash
  109. Thick & Thin
  110. Tipping Point
  111. Tranby Garden
  112. Tree House Residence
  113. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  114. UHN Tunnels
  115. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  116. Venice Biennale 2012
  117. Vermont Square Park
  118. Vernon Avenue Garden
  119. Walk the Walk
  120. Walmer Road Residence
  121. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  122. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  123. Wells Street Residence
  124. Westminster Residence
  125. With Words as Their Actions
  126. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  127. Woven Stories
  128. York Park