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 Residence
  4. Albany Avenue Residence
  5. Aporia Records
  6. Asphalt Poetry
  7. Baby Point Gardens
  8. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  9. Beaty Residence
  10. Bennington Heights Garden
  11. Berkeley Street Residence
  12. Bin-Scarth Garden
  13. Blink and you miss it.
  14. Blue Note
  15. Booth Avenue Residence
  16. Boustrophedon Garden
  17. Braemore Gardens Residence
  18. Browning Avenue Residence
  19. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  20. Camp Arowhon Offices
  21. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  22. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  23. Chocolate Loft
  24. City Instrument
  25. Clarendon Garden
  26. Conversation Piece
  27. Creemore Farm
  28. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  29. Dickson Park Garden
  30. Dilworth Residence
  31. Don Landing Revitalization
  32. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  33. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  34. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  35. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  36. Elizabeth Fry Society
  37. Ellsworth Residence
  38. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  39. First Avenue Garden
  40. Foote’s Pond Wood
  41. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  42. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  43. Goldring Landscape
  44. Gormley Garden
  45. Greener P
  46. Greer Road Garden
  47. Greer Road Residence
  48. Guelph Bridge
  49. Head in the Clouds
  50. Junction Craft Brewery
  51. Kelpies Competition
  52. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  53. Le jardin du repos
  54. Lenticular Curtain
  55. Liza’s Garden
  56. Lynwood Garden
  57. Macroscape
  58. Markham Garden One
  59. Markham Street Residence Two
  60. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  61. Nathan Phillips Square
  62. Orchard View Garden
  63. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  64. Owl Cottage
  65. Paperstone Scissors
  66. Peripheral Sitings
  67. Pottery Road Crossing
  68. rare
  69. Ravine Forecourt
  70. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  71. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  72. Roxborough Garden One
  73. Roxborough Garden Two
  74. Sheridan College
  75. Spadina Quay Wetland
  76. Stratford Market Square Competition
  77. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  78. Superlegible
  79. Sweet Farm
  80. Sweet Farm Pond House
  81. The Meadows Reconsidered
  82. The Red Sash
  83. Thick & Thin
  84. Tipping Point
  85. Tranby Garden
  86. Tree House Residence
  87. UTM Welcome Landscape
  88. Venice Biennale 2012
  89. Vermont Square Park
  90. Vernon Avenue Garden
  91. Walmer Road Residence
  92. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  93. Wells Street Residence
  94. Westminster Residence
  95. With Words as Their Actions
  96. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  97. Woven Stories
  98. York Park