Neighbourhood - Public spaces

Phillips Square


Although originally laid out as a French garden with well-defined allées, the square was compared by some to the splendid Georgian squares of London and Dublin. In 1914, the landscape design of Phillips Square underwent sweeping change with the installation of the monument to Edward VII. The fountain which was a centrepiece of the square was removed and many mature trees were cut down.

Public washrooms - vespasiennes - were added in the 1930s both as a make-work project and part of a move to beautify the city. In the early 1950s, Birks planted six Norway maples, each more than 25 feet high. Other embellishments followed after the construction of the metro and the moving of a bus stop in the 1970s. On August 7, 1998, a renovated Phillips Square was inaugurated, quickly becoming one of the busiest spots downtown.