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Complete Guide to Old City Hall in Toronto

Ultimate Guide to Old City Hall in Toronto

If you’ve ever felt like your Instagram feed lacked a touch of 19th-century sophistication, then the Old City Hall is the place to be.

From its stunning Romanesque architecture to the echoes of civic debates that linger in its halls, every corner tells a story. Join me on a virtual journey through Toronto’s Old City Hall, where each stone has witnessed the evolution of a city.

What is the Old City Hall?

What is the Old City Hall

Constructed Romanesque-style in 1899, Toronto’s Old City Hall was built to house administrative offices and council chambers. Today, it stands as a symbol of civic heritage, encapsulating over a century of Toronto’s commitment to effective governance.

History Behind the Old City Hall

Toronto’s Old City Hall, a certified national historic site since 1984, is a vivid chapter in the city’s story. Beyond the monumental exterior, its charming interior realm is adorned with stained glass, murals, and statues.

Standing tall at 300 feet, its clock tower dominated the Canadian skyline. Architect E.J. Lennox poured a decade into this Richardsonian Romanesque masterpiece, giving birth to the largest city hall in North America upon its 1899 debut. 

Serving as the city’s municipal hub, the building witnessed pivotal moments, from suffragette rallies to memorable trials. Though replaced by the New City Hall in 1965, this venerable structure has endured as a symbol of Toronto’s civic pride. 

How to get to the Old City Hall

Address: 60 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M3

Instagram: Old City Hall on Instagram

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:30 AM–4:30 PM

Contact: (416) 338-0338

Using public transportation, you can get to the Old City Hall via bus, subway, and streetcar. 

To help guide you, below is a transportation table with estimated travel times:

Transportation ModeStationsDuration
BusCanadian Tire Home Office29 min
Dragon Pearl Buffet75 min
Humber College – Lakeshore Campus121 min
Lahore Tikka House57 min
Sheppard West Station110 min
Sheppard West Subway Station109 min
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Bayview Campus55 min
Yorkdale Shopping Centre98 min
SubwayCanadian Tire Home Office19 min
Lahore Tikka House43 min
Sheppard West Station37 min
Sheppard West Subway Station40 min
Yorkdale Shopping Centre37 min
StreetcarRichmond St West at Yonge St West Side10 min
Bay St at Adelaide St West5 min

Map of Toronto’s Old City Hall

Map of Toronto’s Old City Hall
Image by Google Maps

What to do near the Old City Hall

Shop at CF Toronto Eaton Centre

Address: 220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H1

Website: https://shops.cadillacfairview.com/property/cf-toronto-eaton-centre

Instagram: CF Toronto Eaton Centre (@cftoeatoncentre)

Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sat: 10 AM–9 PM

  Friday: 7 AM–9:30 PM

  Sunday: 11 AM–7 PM

Contact: (416) 598-8560

Just a breezy 4-minute stroll from Old City Hall, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre is a shopper’s paradise and a Toronto landmark rolled into one. It has over 230 stores, vintage cinemas, and a smorgasbord of restaurants catering to every taste bud! 

Since 1977, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre has been Toronto’s beloved destination, with over 50 million annual visitors. Catch the latest films, or simply soak up the bustling energy of one of North America’s top-performing centers.

Watch the Toronto Magic Company

Address: Company Oriole Pkwy, Toronto, ON M5P 2G7

Website: https://www.torontomagiccompany.com/

Instagram: Toronto Magic Company (@torontomagiccompany)

Hours: Mon-Sun: 9 AM–11 PM

Contact: (647) 271-8868

Just a quick jaunt from Old City Hall, and you’ll stumble upon the enchanting world of The Toronto Magic Company. Founded in 2016 with a mission to spread world-class magic across Canada, they’re the conjurers behind unforgettable private events.

Dive into their weekly public shows, featuring the globe’s top magicians. Fun Fact: They’ve contributed magic to shows like Amazon’s The Boys and Apple TV’s Ghostwriter, even making an appearance on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us!

Visit Nathan Phillips Square

Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N1

Website: https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/1089/index.html

Instagram: Nathan Phillips Square (@nathanphillipssquare)

Hours: Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

Contact: (416) 392-2489

Just a few minutes away from Old City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square is a year-round delight. In spring, summer, and fall, you can bask in the soothing sounds of the grand water fountain, and come winter, the fountain transforms into an outdoor ice rink! 

You’ll witness downtown’s wonders as you skate, after which you can refuel at Hero Certified Burgers nearby. This hotspot features a redesigned skate pavilion, a permanent stage, and a glass-canopied theatre providing covered public space. 

Go to the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

Address: 189 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 1M4

Website: http://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/ewg

Instagram: Elgin And Winter Garden (@elginandwintergardentheatres)

Hours: Depends on the show

Contact: (416) 314-2901

The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre is a living piece of Toronto’s cultural history. Built in 1913, it boasts Edwardian elegance in red and gold, while the whimsical Winter Garden, a botanical rooftop oasis, blooms year-round. 

We suggest checking out their timetables online and catching one of its musicals, operas, comedy, and films. Also, don’t miss public tours during the summer, offering a glimpse into this architectural gem on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. 

Hang out at Little Canada

Address: 10 Dundas St E Basement2, Toronto, ON M5B 2G9

Website: https://little-canada.ca/

Instagram: Little Canada (@littlecanada)

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 10 AM–6 PM

  Fri-Sun: 10 AM–7:30 PM

We suggest visiting Little Canada, where the vast beauty of Canada is meticulously recreated on a small scale. It offers a whimsical journey through iconic landscapes, from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the bustling streets of Toronto.

Plus, it offers a unique “Littlezation Station,” allowing visitors to create their own tiny avatar, a mini-me if you will, that becomes a part of the Little Canada world. If you want to know more about this family-friendly fun spot, check out our complete guide here.

Where to eat near the Old City Hall

Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar

Address: 365 Bay St., Toronto, ON M5H 2V1

Website: https://www.hyssteakhouse.com/

Instagram: Hy’s Steakhouse (@hyssteakhouse)

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30 AM–11 PM

 Saturday: 4 PM–11 PM

 Sunday: 4 PM–10 PM

Contact: (416) 364-6600

Just a stone’s throw from the historic Old City Hall, you’ll find the famous Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar. This LGBTQ+ friendly establishment has been welcoming guests with open arms and perfectly grilled steaks for decades. 

For a perfectly gooey snack, try Hy’s famous cheese toast. Then, definitely go for Hy’s sinful signature, Steak Neptune, featuring your choice of a New York strip or filet mignon, crowned with asparagus, Dungeness crab, and creamy hollandaise sauce.

Richmond Station

Address: 1 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H 3W4

Website: https://richmondstation.ca/

Instagram: Richmond Station (@richmondstation)

Hours: Mon-Fri: 4:30–10:30 PM

  Sat-Sun: 3:30–10:30 PM

Contact: (647) 748-1444

Richmond Station stands out not just for its yummy dishes but also for its innovative approach to tipping. Chef Heinrich, propelled by his Top Chef Canada win, opted to forgo tipping to provide employees with a steadier income and better insurance. 

The result is a convivial spot where patrons can savour everything from hamburgers and pierogies to charcuterie and Peking duck pancakes – it even has a bar! Don’t miss their extensive daily specials and their standout dish, chilled corn soup.

The Chase

Address: 10 Temperance St Fl 5, Toronto, ON M5H 1Y4

Website: https://www.thechasetoronto.com/

Instagram: The Chase (@thechaseto)

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30 AM–11 PM

  Saturday: 5 PM–12 AM

Contact: (647) 348-7000

Located just a few minutes’ worth of steps from the Old City Hall in downtown Toronto, The Chase offers a blend of casual elegance. Chef Michael Steh draws inspiration from Italian and French cuisines, featuring globally sourced, fresh, premium ingredients.

We think their signature dishes like the seafood tower and the foie gras-stuffed whole roast chicken should not be missed. Whether it’s a casual dinner or a special celebration, The Chase is definitely a must-try for foodies – and non-foodies – alike!

Leña Restaurante

Address: 176 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5C 2L7

Website: https://www.lenarestaurante.com/

Instagram: Leña Restaurante (@lenarestaurante)

Hours: Mon-Tue: 11:45 AM–10 PM

  Wed-Thurs: 11:45 AM–11 PM

  Fri-Sat: 11:45 AM–12 AM

Contact: (416) 507-3378

Leña Restaurante, curated by Chef Anthony Walsh, is inspired by South American flavors with unique Spanish and Italian influences. Named after his mother-in-law, Elena, the restaurant spans three floors, each offering a unique dining ambiance. 

Their succulent Aurora chicken has earned praise from critics and diners alike. The main dining room boasts a stylish, contemporary vibe, while the intimate bar serves expertly crafted cocktails – don’t miss their daily happy hour, from 2:30 PM to 5 PM!

Patties Express

Address: Eaton Centre H029C, 220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H1

Website: https://www.pattiesexpress.ca/

Instagram: Patties Express Inc. (@pattiesexpress)

Hours: Mon-Sat: 9:30 AM–9:30 PM

 Sunday: 10:30 AM–7:30 PM

Contact: (416) 591-1777

Craving a quick and casual snack while wandering downtown Toronto? Look no further than Patties Express. This Jamaican patty haven at CF Toronto Eaton Centre is a gem for those in search of 100% nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. 

Specializing in freshly baked – every 10 minutes! – flaky-textured delights, they offer an array of authentic Jamaican beef, chicken, and vegetarian/vegan Patties. Try their addictive spicy beef patty or grab a variety for later as they also offer frozen options.

FAQs on Toronto’s Old City Hall