City Hall


Much-maligned City Hall was Toronto's bold leap into architectural modernity. Its twin clamshell towers, central 'flying saucer,' ramps and mosaics were completed in 1965 to Finnish architect Viljo Revell's award-winning design. An irritable Frank Lloyd Wright compared it to a gravestone; Revell died before construction was finished. At the info desk you can collect a self-guided tour pamphlet with points of interest in the complex, including a stunning artwork by Norval Morrisseau, one of Canada's most revered Indigenous painters.

Out front is Nathan Phillips Square (though most just call it City Hall, too), a magnet for skaters, demonstrators, fast-food trucks, and tourists taking selfies with the lit-up 'Toronto' letters day and night. In summer, check out the Fresh Wednesdays farmers market, free concerts, special events and office workers on their lunch breaks, up the ramp on the green roof. Look for a tourist-information pop-up at the corner of Bay and Queen. The fountain pool becomes a fun-filled ice-skating rink in winter (10am to 10pm).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Toronto attractions

1. Old City Hall

0.12 MILES

Across Bay St from the current City Hall is the 1899 definitive work of Toronto architect EJ Lennox. Now housing courtrooms, the hall has an off-center…

2. Church of the Holy Trinity

0.14 MILES

Tucked away behind the west side of the gargantuan Eaton Centre is the oasis-like Trinity Sq, named after the welcoming Anglican Church of the Holy…

3. Textile Museum of Canada

0.16 MILES

Tucked into a condo tower, this small museum has exhibits drawing on its permanent collection of more than 13,000 items from Latin America, Africa, Europe…

4. Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre

0.24 MILES

This restored masterpiece is the world's last operating Edwardian double-decker theater. Celebrating its centennial in 2013, the Winter Garden was built…

5. Art Gallery of Ontario

0.39 MILES

The AGO houses collections both excellent and extensive (bring your stamina). Renovations of the facade, designed by the revered Frank Gehry and completed…

6. Toronto's First Post Office


Dating to 1834, this national historic site is also the city's oldest surviving post office. A small museum showcases the beginning of the city's postal…

7. Design Exchange

0.41 MILES

The original Toronto Stock Exchange now houses eye-catching industrial-design exhibits. The permanent collection of this rather tiny museum includes more…

8. TD Gallery of Inuit Art

0.43 MILES

A quiet pause amid the bustle of the Financial District, the TD Gallery of Inuit Art provides an exceptional insight into Inuit culture. Just beyond the…