After nearly five years of funding fights and weather-related construction delays, the $60m renovation of Nathan Phillips Square is slated for completion by the end of this year. Since 1965, NPS has been the gathering place of choice for millions of Torontonians to protest, lace up a pair of skates or have a massive pillow fight. But let's face it; in the cold light of day, when not lit up by New Year's Eve fireworks or Ai Weiwei's gleaming bicycles, the square was looking pretty miserable, even post-apocalyptic. The added green space (the Podium's green roof, new native-species trees lining the perimeter, an expanded Peace Garden) and enhanced public amenities (skating pavilion, festival stage) will be great additions to City Hall's bleak streetscape. The improved access to the PATH and to the parking garage will be welcome, too.
But this freakishly-long winter has meant delays to the project. The Square's southwest corner is still torn up, blocked off by the blue construction fence that was put up last fall, and the statue of Winston Churchill that was on that spot has been moved further north to the sculpture garden. The City wants a restaurant to sit on the revamped corner; trouble is, they can't build a restaurant until they choose one, and they can't choose one until they decide how to choose one ( when was this project launched, again? It's taking these guys longer to pick a restaurant than your office's holiday-party planning committee). Will you want to hang out in the updated Nathan Phillips Square?
· Pillow Fight at Nathan Phillips Square is a Feather-Free Event [Curbed Toronto]
· Toronto Delays City Hall Restaurant Plans, Seeks 'Fairness Monitor' [National Post]
· Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization [Perkins+Will]