Princes' Gates

The Princes' Gates is a triumphal arch monumental gateway at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Canadian confederation and was to be named The Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Gates. The structure's name was changed when it was learned that Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince George were travelling to Toronto. The princes cut the ribbon on the structure on August 30, 1927.[1]

Princes' Gates
Triumphal Arch
Princes' Gates in 2012
DesignChapman and Oxley
BuilderSullivan and Fried Company
Height65 ft (20 m)
Length300 ft (91 m)
DimensionsWide: 45 m (148 ft)
Deep: 22 m (72 ft)
Architectural styleNeoclassicism
OwnerCity of Toronto government
Location11 Princes' Boulevard,
Exhibition Place
Princes' Gates
Location of Princes' Gates in Toronto
Coordinates: 43°38′5″N 79°24′34″W


The triumphal arch was designed in a neoclassical style by Chapman and Oxley, a Toronto-based architectural firm. The gates are made of a mix of stone and concrete, and the statue was poured concrete and weighed 12-tons.[1] Above the arch are the words "Canadian National Exhibition 1879 1927". The end of the gate structure features two water fountains and above them the coat of arms of Ontario.

The gates are a 300 feet (91 m)-long, 18-column structure with a 41 feet (12 m)-high central arch, topped by the Goddess of Winged Victory statue, an interpretation of the original Winged Victory of Samothrace, designed by architect Alfred Chapman of Chapman and Oxley and carved by Charles McKechnie.[2] In her hand she holds a single maple leaf. Flanking the Winged Victory statue are various figures representing progress, industry, agriculture, arts, and science.[1] There are nine pillars to either side of the main arch, representing the nine Canadian provinces in existence at the time of construction. Each column is topped with a flag pole. The plaza has an additional, taller flag pole, to the north of the central arch.

The Princes' Gates image has been adopted by the Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) as an official mark. The CNEA objected when a casino proposal used an image of the gates in their promotion materials.[3]


The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Exhibition Grounds, which was situated further to the west, was slowly growing eastward. Permanent buildings were being built further and further to the east, including the Coliseum, the Electrical and Engineering Building and the Automotive Building. The only gate to the exhibition was the Dufferin Gates at the west end of the grounds, although entry was possible by Strachan Avenue which turned west just south of the railway lines and continued west to the grounds. The CNE decided to build a new eastern gate to the grounds as a project to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

The Princes' Gates were built in four months by the Sullivan and Fried Company of Toronto. The gates were officially opened by Princes Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), and George (later the Duke of Kent), on August 30, 1927, during that year's CNE. The gates were originally to be called The Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Gates. Just 25 days before, the CNE changed the name when it was learned that a tour of Canada by the Princes was taking place.[4] On the date of opening, the first to pass through the gate were 15,000 veterans in the annual Warriors' Day veterans' parade.[5]

At the same time, Strachan Avenue was extended south to the front of the Gates.[6] Princes' Boulevard was built inside the grounds along an east-west axis starting at the Gates. At the time of construction, the Lake Ontario shoreline was just south of the Princes' Gates. Coronation Park would be constructed to the south and south-east in the 1930s. On August 25, 1928, the ceremonial plaque commemorating the Princes' unveiling was installed on the structure.[7] On the Gates' 50th anniversary, a historical plaque was unveiled by W. B. Sullivan, one of the original builders.[8]

During 1986 and 1987, the Princes' Gates underwent a major restoration. In the fall of 1986, the Winged Victory statue was taken down and found to be seriously deteriorating. It was subsequently replaced by a glass-reinforced polymer plastic copy in 1987[9] to withstand the elements for over a century. That same year the gates officially became a listed building under the Ontario Heritage Act.[10]

In 2006, the piazza around the base of the arch was renovated at the cost of CA$2 million. It added landscaped gardens, new paving stones, new sidewalk and bike lanes. It was a joint effort with Italian design firms of Milan, which is Toronto's twin city and where Toronto firms had worked previously on piazzas there.[11]

In 2010, as part of a CA$27 million project of restorations and improvements of several buildings at the CNE, the Princes' Gates underwent further restorations to its masonry.[12] The restoration was funded by the Government of Canada.[12]

See also


  1. Filey 1992, p. 122.
  2. "Princes' Gates". CNE. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015.
  3. "Ad Campaign misleading, CNE head says". The Globe and Mail. March 13, 2013. p. A12.
  4. "Ontario Heritage Trust: Princes' Gates". Archived from the original on March 20, 2012.
  5. Filey, Mike (August 30, 2015). "Princes' Gates put new face on CNE". Toronto Sun.
  6. "Strachan Avenue and Milton/Georgetown Rail Corridor: Grade Separation Study" (PDF) (pdf). City of Toronto. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  7. "Tablet for Princes' Gates". The Globe and Mail. August 25, 1928. p. 21.
  8. Cherry, Zena (August 30, 1977). "CNE Gates get plaque". The Globe and Mail. p. 12.
  9. Filey 1992, p. 123.
  10. "Notice of Passing of By-Law". The Globe and Mail. December 1, 1987. p. A18.
  11. Lorinc, John. "Princes' Gates, Italian style". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  12. Lewington, Jennifer (September 12, 2009). "Stimulus Funds: Ottawa pledges $190 million for Toronto infrastructure". The Globe and Mail. p. A16A.

Further reading

Media related to Princes' Gates at Wikimedia Commons

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