Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square
4
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Top ways to experience Nathan Phillips Square
The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Downtown
At the heart of Toronto, Downtown is the destination for cheap eats and fast fashion. Cut through by hip and trendy Yonge Street, the vibe here is young, with a strong student influence from the Ryerson University Campus. As a result, the Downtown area is always in flux: undergoing the construction of new facilities, with fresh retail spaces and pop-up cafes. Home to Toronto's largest indoor shopping mall, a number of vintage cinemas, and a healthy nightlife centered on the area's Distillery District bar and clubs near the East End, it's both an easygoing daytime spot and a popular party place after sunset. It also features some of Toronto's best outdoor landmarks, including Yonge-Dundas Square and the Nathan Phillips Square: perfect for a concert, a skate, or a relaxing sit-down.
How to get there
  • Queen • 4 min walk
  • Osgoode • 5 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • Czar Emmanuel
    Manila, Philippines9,450 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    A popular spot in downtown Toronto
    This square is definitely the heart of downtown Toronto, where the seat of the local government is located. On the one side you'll see the imposing Court of Justice building (which used to be the old city hall) and on the other side you'll find the new city hall. In the center you'll find a fountain whose waters become frozen during winter, thus it becomes an ice skating rink. An old sign that reads "TORONTO" is a favorite spot for picture-taking, especially among tourists. It looks really nice at night when lit up. To reach the square, go to the subway Queen station and walk a few meters from there.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 10 August 2023
  • therichastill
    Stevenage, United Kingdom2,939 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Tourist Destination
    Nathan Phillips Square is in the heart of Toronto and very busy. The old and new City Halls are here on adjacent sides and there is also the TORONTO sign which you can have your picture taken with. There is also a fountain and I was told that when the weather gets cold and it freezes over then it is a good place to go skating. I am not sure if I would try this as I am not too steady on skates ;) It is quite a big area and a good place to meet up with friends and family.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 14 November 2023
  • Stewarts Vacation
    1,543 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Iconic Toronto sign!
    This large Square, directly in front of the New City Hall and beside the Old City Hall, is an absolute must visit! The main attraction is the iconic letters "TORONTO" which light up at night. A perfect spot for a photo! It's at the heart of the city and is used to host a variety of activities and special events. The day we visited, there was a Vegan Festival. In summer, the fountain has a cooling effect and it is a good place to sit for a while. There are washrooms available. The elevated walkways provide a great vantage point for photos. We purchased food from the food trucks along Queen Street West and sat on the seating in the shade of the elevated walkway to eat.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 29 December 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles1,113 reviews
Excellent
463
Very good
472
Average
155
Poor
21
Terrible
2

IAN D
Wigan, UK25,478 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
This is a large open area with the famous Toronto sign. It is flanked by some impressive buildings including both the old and new city halls. It is known for taking your picture at the sign.
Written 5 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alex C
Canberra, Australia42 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
Seemed to just be about the sign and a few buildings around it. Worth swinging by if you are in the area, probably best at night when it is lit up.
Written 5 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kaan Kuskonmaz
Istanbul, Türkiye284 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
This square is one of the best must-visit places in downtown Toronto. In winter, people can ice skate there. At night, you can enjoy the night view of the city and take some snaps.
Written 21 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thoughtful Foodie
Toronto, Canada10 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
This is Toronto's attempt to create an Old-World, European civic centre experience in a New-World, North American setting.
it was a noble experiment, begun way back in the 'dark' ages, when Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-Arctic-coast universally despised Canada's largest city, and called it "Toronto-the-Good" (at best), and "Hogtown" (most of the rest of the time....)
In a bold attept to 'modernize', the city fathers -- and sadly, there were few city mothers, back then -- decided to hire an Icelandic architect to design a "new" City Hall.... It dominates the north side of the square.
The ancient Victorian city hall (on the east side) is infinitely more architecturally attractive. Somehow, it has miraculously survived the wrecking cranes -- with a tallish clock tower, and a bell that rings the time accurately, every fifteen minutes... most of the time.
On the west side is Osgoode Hall, surrounded by a beautiful (but successfully imposing) 19th-century rot iron fence. It's home to the Law Society of Upper Canada. Unless you're a lawyer, don't even begin to ask what that means, or who they are.... Simply trying to get into the buidling could result in an immediate ticket to JAIL -- Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200!
To the south is Queen Street -- a major east/west throroughfare, with one of the city's very few 24-hour StreetCar routes. It will take you from "the Beaches" in the extreme east end, to almost any destination you can possibly image in the wild, Wild West.
It's twenty-five kilometres long, and would provide an excellent -- and CHEAP! -- first-time tourist introduction to many aspects of the contemporary city.
In the NW quarter of Nathan Phillips Square is a large bronze scupture called "The Archer" by British artist Henry Moore. It was commissioned by Toronto City Council, under then Mayor Nathan Phillips, when the new city hall was being planned and built. The Archer alone is worth the price of admission -- which happens to be free, 24/7, twelve months of the year.
Shortly after the piece was commissioned, the city fathers learned that Mr. Moore had already agreed to sell and send a second bronze casting of the same piece to another city , somewhere in Scandinavia. When the good citzens of "Toronto the Good" got wind of this artistic dupliity, they rose up and raised significant funds -- several millions of dollars, by today's standards! -- to compensate the creator for any out-out-pocket expenses he might incur by not making a copy....
Moore was so impressed that he later donated the bulk of his lifelong sculptural output to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is within walking distance of "The Square" itself!
By far the best time to visit is in the middle of a cold Canadian winter, when the sizeable reflecting pool in the middle is magically transformed into a public skating rink. Recent mmigrants from around the world lace up rented blades, and achieve honourary Canadian citizenship by ankle skating -- with smiles that stretch from ear-to-ear, for hours and hours!
To visit there and then is to experience the "heart" of Canada!
Written 7 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CrisslyRose
Dominican Republic49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
This place is so iconic. You can pass a good moment here, but when we went the rink was closed, and we couldn't get a good view of the word TORONTO and the rest. But it's a must
Written 21 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stewarts Vacation
1,543 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
This large Square, directly in front of the New City Hall and beside the Old City Hall, is an absolute must visit! The main attraction is the iconic letters "TORONTO" which light up at night. A perfect spot for a photo! It's at the heart of the city and is used to host a variety of activities and special events. The day we visited, there was a Vegan Festival. In summer, the fountain has a cooling effect and it is a good place to sit for a while. There are washrooms available. The elevated walkways provide a great vantage point for photos. We purchased food from the food trucks along Queen Street West and sat on the seating in the shade of the elevated walkway to eat.
Written 29 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

therichastill
Stevenage, UK2,939 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
Nathan Phillips Square is in the heart of Toronto and very busy. The old and new City Halls are here on adjacent sides and there is also the TORONTO sign which you can have your picture taken with.

There is also a fountain and I was told that when the weather gets cold and it freezes over then it is a good place to go skating. I am not sure if I would try this as I am not too steady on skates ;)

It is quite a big area and a good place to meet up with friends and family.
Written 14 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cloud
Frankfurt, Germany1,114 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
Nice to take a few pictures, with a big city name and a pool and a few points to take a picture at due to the contrast between old and new.
Written 11 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

09robbins
Swanley, UK217 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
We visited in the evening, as the Toronto sign is lit then - lovely for photos. At the bottom of the middle concrete arch is a piece of the old Berlin wall.
Written 29 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anonymous855
Trabuco Canyon, California1,729 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
A very large plaza next to the Old City Hall with seating around it to rest and enjoy. They were setting up on one side of the fountain for a Fiesta...wish we would have time later to come back. I suggest when you visit, find out what's on tap there to plan better than I did.
Written 26 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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