List of all SquaresActivitiesDocumentationClassificationEvaluationPsychogeographyNetworkWho We AreContact Us  
Trinity Square and Park, Toronto, 2019[open in full screen]  


Previous East York Civic Centre Park, Toronto

Trinity square in downtown Toronto, is just behind the Toronto Eaton Centre. Other structures facing this space are Bell Trinity office building and the Marriott downtown Eaton Centre hotel. The square's primary feature is the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity. The Henry Scadding house and Holy Trinity Rectory are heritage buildings that are also located in the square.

The square was once John Simcoe Macaulay estate, which had been acquired by his father James Macaulay in 1797. Macaulay sold his home and land in 1845, giving land for the construction of the Church of the Holy Trinity. By 1900, the area around the church became the Eaton's annex.

The church and square were threatened after demolition of Eaton's complex to make way for the Toronto Eaton Centre.The parishioners of the church successfully resisted and forced the mall's design to be changed, preserving the church. Protests from Toronto citizens also led to the preservation of old city hall south of the square.

  Square walkways are lined with densely planted trees. There is a water feature consisting of a tall outlet of water falling from a wall into an ornamental pond. Water also flows through an artificial stream beside the walkway to Bay Street. It is not functional at this moment, but we hope it will be eventually restored. I remember it being extremely pleasant especially during the lunch time in summer months.

Adjacent to the church is a clock tower. In addition, there are three large colonnade-like structures which serve as an entrance to the toronto public labyrinth. It is a universal symbol of pilgrimage and of our journey through life. A labyrinth has only one path and, unlike a maze, it has no dead ends. The labyrinth pattern at Trinity square is based on the eleven-circuit labyrinth constructed at the Chartres cathedral in France, completed in the 13th century. As many labyrinths are found near the water, this labyrinth is located on the former course of Toddle Creek, a stream that has been buried for more than one hundred and fifty years.

The granite blocks that have been set into the paving at the entrance to the labyrinth and the nearby water feature in the square serve as reminders of this buried creek.

  The labyrinth is oriented in the direction of true north, as indicated by the directional lines created with the granite blocks.

Really exceptional urban space, today somewhat neglected, still serving mainly surrounding office workers. Very large pedestrian traffic from the Eaton Centre is occasionally finding a quiet refuge spot here including my granddaughter finding herself enjoying the centre of the labyrinth.

Most of public "square like" spaces in Toronto are frequented and used by large number of homeless people. This one is recognizing that fact and Trinity church is organizing a mass – Toronto homeless memorial service once a week.

One more very considerate item is provided for visually impaired, plate with tactile version of labyrinth is posted for their enjoyment [small photo bellow right].

Just steps away true the Eaton Centre is one quite different urban square with totally opposite atmosphere.

Next Queen's Park, Toronto

  East York Civic Centre Park, Toronto, Map  
more about
evaluation method
more about
types of squares
uses & activities
access & linkages
tourist value
with park
street, shopping
  East York Civic Centre Park, Toronto   East York Civic Centre Park, Toronto  
urban squares initiative is licensed under a creative commons attribution-share alike 2.5 canada license.
List of all SquaresActivitiesDocumentationClassificationEvaluationPsychogeographyNetworkWho We AreContact Us  
Last time updated on December 6, 2020 16:40