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. Aporia Records
  7. Asphalt Poetry
  8. – Poem
  9. Baby Point Gardens
  10. Beach Garden
  11. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  12. Beaty Residence
  13. Bennington Heights Garden
  14. Berkeley Street Residence
  15. Bin-Scarth Garden
  16. Blink and you miss it.
  17. – Poem
  18. Bloor St. Apartment
  19. Blue Note
  20. Booth Avenue Residence
  21. Boustrophedon Garden
  22. Braemore Gardens Residence
  23. Browning Avenue Residence
  24. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  25. Camp Arowhon Offices
  26. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  27. Centre for Teaching and Learning, UBCO
  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. Liberty Village Parkettes
  69. Liza’s Garden
  70. Lynwood Garden
  71. Macroscape
  72. Markham Garden One
  73. Markham Street Residence Two
  74. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  75. Mulock Park
  76. Nathan Phillips Square
  77. – Streetscape
  78. – Peace Garden
  79. – Podium Roof Garden
  80. Orchard View Garden
  81. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  82. Owl Cottage
  83. Paperstone Scissors
  84. Peripheral Sitings
  85. Pottery Road Crossing
  86. rare
  87. Ravine Forecourt
  88. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  89. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  90. Roxborough Garden One
  91. Roxborough Garden Two
  92. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  93. Schulich School of Business
  94. Sheridan College
  95. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  96. Spadina Quay Wetland
  97. St. Anne's Road Garden
  98. Stratford Market Square Competition
  99. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  100. Superkids Dental
  101. Superlegible
  102. Sweet Farm
  103. Sweet Farm Pond House
  104. Swift Medical Offices
  105. The Meadows Reconsidered
  106. The Red Sash
  107. Thick & Thin
  108. Tipping Point
  109. Tranby Garden
  110. Tree House Residence
  111. UHN Tunnels
  112. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  113. Venice Biennale 2012
  114. Vermont Square Park
  115. Vernon Avenue Garden
  116. Walk the Walk
  117. Walmer Road Residence
  118. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  119. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  120. Wells Street Residence
  121. Westminster Residence
  122. With Words as Their Actions
  123. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  124. Woven Stories
  125. York Park