Best known for its skating rink, Nathan Philips Square is the place for civic activities, special events, or just a place to hang out. Right in front of City Hall, there’s no other place to be than here when you want to feel what it’s like to be in Toronto.
From flag raising ceremonies to firework demonstrations, Nathan Philips Square is more than just a city gem. You could learn a lot about Toronto here. The Peace Garden is right in the middle of the Square, and it honours the commitment of Torontonians to the principle of world peace. Who doesn’t want world peace, right? There are also the famous Freedom Arches over the pond/ice rink. An actual piece of the Berlin wall lays flat at the base of the centre arch on the south side. An ACTUAL piece, not even kidding. And of course, there’s Oscar Nemon’s statue of Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The Square was named after Nathan Philips, Mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962. He supported the new City Hall and the international design competition that was won by Finnish architect Viljo Revell. You can “revell” at his work just by looking north from the Square, as City Hall is RIGHT there.
Once the weather is chilly enough outside and the snowflakes start falling, the first thing that always comes to my mind is to go skating at Nathan Philips Square. It’s gotta be one of the main winter attractions in Toronto and it definitely shows in the numbers. Weekday nights are the best time to go, as there’s still some arm room when you’re skating, but if you enjoy the crowd (and if you skate well), weekends are well spent here. Add in the lights from the Square and the surrounding buildings, and it’s a perfect date night!
For more information see the Nathan Philips site