Old City Hall, Toronto

Old City Hall, Toronto

Located at the intersection of Queen and Bay Streets in Downtown Toronto stands an impressive building with Romanesque-style architecture. This remarkable structure, known today as the Old City Hall, served as the Toronto City Council's home from 1899 to 1966, becoming the third city hall constructed for the flourishing city. Upon its completion, it ranked among the largest buildings in Toronto and stood as the largest civic edifice in North America.

Renowned architect Edward James Lennox led the creation of this masterpiece. Over a decade of construction, the majestic City Hall emerged as an iconic landmark. Its remarkable clock tower, standing at 103.6 meters (340 feet), became the city's crown jewel. The clock mechanism was crafted in Croydon, England. Inside the clock room, three bells were placed: two smaller ones that chimed every quarter hour, and a bourdon bell weighing 5,443 kilograms, which tolled every hour.

Matching the splendid exterior, the interior of the building exuded charm, adorned with intricate details. Noteworthy features include a grand staircase adorned with stained glass windows depicting Canadian history, various murals, statues, and other decorative elements.

Despite its grandeur, the Old City Hall proved inadequate for Toronto's expanding municipal government within a few decades of its construction. In the 1960s, plans were made to demolish the building and make way for a retail complex known as the Eaton Centre. However, thanks to public outcry, the Old City Hall was saved and repurposed as a courthouse. In 1984, it received the prestigious designation as a National Historic Site, preserving its historical significance for future generations.

Tip:
Make sure to visit the small "lake" close by, as many of the pictures from Toronto you might know are taken from this place while facing the "TORONTO" sign.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Toronto. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Old City Hall on Map

Sight Name: Old City Hall
Sight Location: Toronto, Canada (See walking tours in Toronto)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Toronto, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Toronto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cabbagetown Walking Tour

Cabbagetown Walking Tour

Once a small community of Irish immigrants east of downtown and one of the poorest neighborhoods in Toronto, Cabbagetown is also one of the city's oldest districts, established in 1840. In 2004, it was declared a historic district and presently claims to be "the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America". Attesting to this claim are the picturesque...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Once an Anglo backwater, today's Toronto is the cultural and economic hub of English-speaking Canada. The city's architectural beauty is supplemented by its historical richness, with some of the buildings dating back as far as the late 18th century. This self-guided tour invites you to explore the most prominent structures making up the historic heritage of Toronto.

The Gooderham...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Toronto Introduction Walking Tour

Toronto Introduction Walking Tour

Sprawling on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, the capital of the Canadian province of Ontario, Toronto, is a major metropolis renowned for its dynamic pace and high-rising skyline, incorporating both ultra-modern skyscrapers and historic architecture.

The area of present-day Toronto has been inhabited for thousands of years. Its first known settlers – the Wyandot (or Huron) people –...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Toronto Islands Walking Tour

Toronto Islands Walking Tour

The Toronto Islands, otherwise simply known as “the Islands,” are a chain of islands in Lake Ontario, just off the coast of downtown Toronto. They include three major islands (namely: Centre Island, Algonquin or Sunfish Island, and Olympic Island) and several smaller ones. Collectively they are a great natural retreat set in a peaceful and joyful environment, which, apart from the panoramic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Distillery District Walking Tour

Distillery District Walking Tour

Toronto's Distillery District is a trendy neighborhood and an architectural treasure dating back to 1859. Once the largest distillery in the British Empire, today this former industrial complex is a National Historic Site of Canada and a unique pocket of Victorian-era architecture, featuring the continent's best-preserved collection of cobblestone pathways and historic buildings housing...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles
Toronto's Waterfront Walking Tour

Toronto's Waterfront Walking Tour

It is more than obvious that the locals of Toronto, as well as visitors, cherish and admire the alluring views of Lake Ontario on the shores of which the city is located. Toronto's waterfront is one of the most picturesque places for walking, but it is also a great destination for those in search of entertainment.

At the heart of this waterfront area stands Queen's Quay Terminal, a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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