Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West (at Bay Street)
Toronto M5H 2N1

Viljo Revell 1965

For a city with so much recent building and such a strong reputation as an attractive environment in which to live, Toronto has a notable shortage of original modern architecture. That it does have a Modernist New City Hall, however, is a credit to its citizens, who in a general plebiscite in the 1950s voted down a proposed Hall in the traditional Classical architectural style. Mayor Nathan Phillips continued to campaign for a Hall after that vote, and won approval for one in 1956 with the proposal to hold an international architectural competition. Viljo Revell's design won that competition, beating 500 other entries; its selection is attributed to its sculptural quality and monumentality.  


The New City Hall - actually Toronto's fourth - comprises two curved towers, of unequal heights, built around a circular council chamber and public space, and providing a sculptural backdrop for Nathan Phillips Square. The south-facing concave surfaces of the towers are glazed, heating the offices beyond the capabilities of their air conditioning in summer; while the larger convex walls are the core of the building's structure, formed entirely from ribbed concrete, with no window openings.

The New City Hall is almost Revell's only work outside Finland. He died before he could see it completed.

Simon Glynn 2001


How to visit

The City Hall is at the north end of Nathan Phillips Square, with Bay Street running up the east side, Queen St W along the south, and University Avenue one block to the west. Underground parking is available.

The ground floor, with space around the circular council chamber, is open to the public Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. The towers are all local government offices. There are no public spaces above ground, but it is possible to ride the elevator up to get some idea of the atmosphere in the office floors.

For more information call +1 416 338 0338 or email

Tours of the building are available by arrangement. Call +1 416 392 7410.


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