Garden of the Greek Gods – Stone Sculptures at Exhibition Place

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2023 – THE TRITON “He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.”
2023 – The Triton is one of 20 stone sculptures in the Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place in Toronto

Garden of the Greek Gods is located on Prince Edward Island Cres (south of the Better Living Centre) at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

The Mythical Sculptures

Renowned Canadian artist Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox created the collection of 20 mythical limestone sculptures as a tourist attraction for the Georgian Peaks ski resort in Thornbury, Ontario (about 14 km west of Collingwood). While working at his studio, using a sledgehammer, compressed air and hand chisels, Mr Cox started his first sculpture in late 1962. Nine months later, eleven pieces, including Pan, Orpheus, Cerberus, Centaur, Minotaur, Harpies and Three Graces, were completed and transferred to the resort, where they were scattered along trails from the top of the lift chairs to the lookout area.

That summer of 1963, Mr Cox worked on-site at the resort on the 12th sculpture, Medusa. The remainder of the stones were finished by 1964, each representing a god, hero or monster from Greek mythology. Hercules, which stands 3.4 m or 11 ft tall and weighs over 5 tons, was positioned at the bottom of the ski hill at what was known as “The Enchanted Mountain.” At that time, the group of sculptures was collectively known as the “Garden of the Gods.”

Over the next decade, the chair lift’s position changed, meaning the artwork was only being seen during the winter season. Mr Cox was concerned that the sculptures were not being enjoyed year-round as intended, so in 1974, he purchased his collection back and brought it to his North York home.

The Move to Exhibition Place

1999 - The Harpies on display on the south side of the Horticulture Building at Exhibition Place
1999 – The Harpies on display on the south side of the Horticulture Building at Exhibition Place (Courtesy of Exhibition Place)

In 1976, the sculptures were featured in the “Glorious Greece” display during The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in the Coliseum. It took five large trucks and forklifts to transport the giant stones from Mr Cox’s residence to Exhibition Place. For the next two years, they were stored at Exhibition Place.

In 1978, well-known Toronto restauranteur Arthur Carman (Athanasios Karamanos), who owned Carman’s Club at 26 Alexander St, purchased the collection in honour of his Greek heritage from Mr Cox for $125,000. Mr Carman then donated the group of sculptures to the people of Toronto. With matching funds from Wintario and a permanent home provided by Exhibition Place, the landscaped garden called “Garden of the Greek Gods” opened a year later on the south side of the Horticulture Building.

For several years, the pieces were around the grounds of the Horticulture Building. When the building became home to Musik nightclub, today’s Toronto Event Centre, the sculptures were no longer visible to the public.

Garden of the Greek Gods Today

2022 - CYCLOPS “One of a race of Giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.”
2022 – Garden of Greek Gods was created between 1962 and 1964 by renowned Canadian artist Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox

In 2022, the stone figures were relocated and unveiled at their new permanent home on the south side of Exhibition Place. They are free to see and, once again, publicly accessible. There are a total of 20 sculptures and one carved marker stone.

In conjunction with the relocation, Exhibition Place has partnered with CAMH to launch a digital experience called Digital Amphitheatre. The project aims to create a virtual community through sharing stories.

About E.B. Cox

Elford Bradley Cox was born in Botha, Alberta, in 1914. He moved to Ontario and studied languages at the University of Toronto, later becoming a French and German teacher at Upper Canada College. In the 1950s, Mr Cox became a full-time artist. Throughout his career, he created many sculptures, including monumental works found at schools, government buildings, hotels, parks, banks and more throughout Ontario. Mr Cox passed away in 2003 at the age of 89.

Garden of the Greek Gods Photos

2022 – Garden of the Greek Gods is located on Prince Edward Island Cres at Exhibition Place. There are 20 sculptures, and the tallest is Hercules which stands 3.4 m or 11 ft tall and weighs over 5 tons
2022 – Garden of the Greek Gods is located on Prince Edward Island Cres at Exhibition Place. There are 20 sculptures, and the tallest is Hercules which stands 3.4 m or 11 ft tall and weighs over 5 tons
2023 – APHRODITE 

“God of love, also known as Venus. Born of the sea, she reached shore riding a scallop shell.”
2023 – APHRODITE

“God of love, also known as Venus. Born of the sea, she reached shore riding a scallop shell.”
2023 - BOY ON THE DOLPHIN 

“Many stories come down from antiquity or children having Dolphins for playmates, and of lost sailors being helped to shore by Dolphins.”
2023 – BOY ON THE DOLPHIN

“Many stories come down from antiquity or children having Dolphins for playmates, and of lost sailors being helped to shore by Dolphins.”
2023 - CENTAUR 

“One of a jolly race of creatures, half man, half horse who lived in the forest of ancient Greece and were very hard to catch.”
2023 – CENTAUR

“One of a jolly race of creatures, half man, half horse who lived in the forest of ancient Greece and were very hard to catch.”
2023 - CERBERUS 

“This savage three–headed dog guarded the gates of hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.”
2023 – CERBERUS

“This savage three–headed dog guarded the gates of hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.”
2022 - CYCLOPS “One of a race of Giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.”
2022 – CYCLOPS

“One of a race of Giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.”
2023 - THE HARPIES

“These bird-women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the Hearts of evil-doers.”
2023 – THE HARPIES

“These bird-women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the Hearts of evil-doers.”
2022 - HERCULES 

“The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The Gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean Lion.”
2022 – HERCULES

“The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The Gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean Lion.”
2023 - THE HYDRA 
“A monstrous dragon with nine heads originally-however if one head was cut off, two heads grew in its place. This one has 14 heads-so figure how many heads were cut off.”
2023 – THE HYDRA

“A monstrous dragon with nine heads originally-however if one head was cut off, two heads grew in its place. This one has 14 heads-so figure how many heads were cut off.”
2023 – THE MINOTAUR

“Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the King of Crete until vanquished by the Greek Prince Theseus.”
2023 – THE MINOTAUR

“Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the King of Crete until vanquished by the Greek Prince Theseus.”
2023 –  ORPHEUS

“He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the Lyre and his heavenly singing.”
2023 – ORPHEUS

“He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the Lyre and his heavenly singing.”
2022 - MEDUSA

“One of three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone.”
2022 – MEDUSA

“One of three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone.”
2022 - MERMAID

“A sea nymph having the body of a woman and tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young Dolphin.”
2022 – MERMAID

“A sea nymph having the body of a woman and tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young Dolphin.” ”
2023 – NARCISSUS

“A handsome young man who pined away for love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.”
2023 – NARCISSUS

“A handsome young man who pined away for love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.”
2023 – PAN   

“The Elusive God of the forest, half man, half goat, full of fun and games. He invented the reed pipes and filled the woods with their sounds.”
2023 – PAN

“The Elusive God of the forest, half man, half goat, full of fun and games. He invented the reed pipes and filled the woods with their sounds.”
2022 – THE PHOENIX 

“After living in the desert for 500 years this bird was consumed by fire. It rose anew from its own ashes and is the symbol of eternal life.”
2022 – THE PHOENIX

“After living in the desert for 500 years this bird was consumed by fire. It rose anew from its own ashes and is the symbol of eternal life.”
2023 – SEA HORSE “These Creatures appeared on the surface of the Mediterranean as whitecaps. In large groups they could stir up quite a storm if the wind was right.”
2023 – SEA HORSE

“These Creatures appeared on the surface of the Mediterranean as whitecaps. In large groups they could stir up quite a storm if the wind was right.”
2023 –  THE SPHINX

“A strange creature with claws of a bird and the body and tail of a lion. This woman would devour passing travellers if they could not answer her riddle correctly.”
2023 – THE SPHINX

“A strange creature with claws of a bird and the body and tail of a lion. This woman would devour passing travellers if they could not answer her riddle correctly.”
2022 – THE THREE GRACES   
“These beauties were judged by Paris, and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.”
2022 – THE THREE GRACES

“These beauties were judged by Paris, and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.”
2023 – THE TRITON 
“He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.”
2023 – THE TRITON

“He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.”
2023 –  THE TYHON

“Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving speciman doesn’t seem so very fierce.”
2023 – THE TYHON

“Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving speciman doesn’t seem so very fierce.”
2022 – The sculptures for the Garden of the Greek Gods by E. B. Cox. The carved marker stone was dated August 16, 1979, when the Garden of Greek Gods opened at its previous location on the south side of the Horticulture Building
2022 – The sculptures for the Garden of the Greek Gods by E. B. Cox. The carved marker stone was dated August 16, 1979, when the Garden of Greek Gods opened at its previous location on the south side of the Horticulture Building
2023 – Looking northeast toward the Garden of Greek Gods, with the Better Living Centre in the background, at Exhibition Place. The collection of 20 mythical limestone sculptures was created by artist Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox between 1962 and 1964
2023 – Looking northeast toward the Garden of Greek Gods, with the Better Living Centre in the background, at Exhibition Place. The collection of 20 mythical limestone sculptures was created by artist Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox between 1962 and 1964
2023 – Looking west toward Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of Exhibition Place. Notice The Bandshell in the background
2023 – Looking west toward Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of Exhibition Place. Notice The Bandshell in the background
2022 – Looking southeast toward the Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place with Ontario Place in the background. For over four decades, the limestone sculptures were located around the Horticulture Building, today known as the Toronto Event Centre. The collection was relocated to the south side of Exhibition Place in 2022
2022 – Looking southeast toward the Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place with Ontario Place in the background. For over four decades, the limestone sculptures were located around the Horticulture Building, today known as the Toronto Event Centre. The collection was relocated to the south side of Exhibition Place in 2022
2022 – Looking southeast toward Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place with Ontario Place in the background. A few of the sculptures in the photo include the Cyclops, Tyhon, Cerberus and the Minotaur
2022 – Looking southeast toward Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place with Ontario Place in the background. A few of the sculptures in the photo include the Cyclops, Tyhon, Cerberus and the Minotaur
2022 – Looking southwest toward the Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place with Lake Ontario in the background
2022 – Looking southwest toward the Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place with Lake Ontario in the background
2023 – The plaque reads: 

Garden of the Greek Gods 

“These twenty stone sculptures, collectively known as the Garden of the Greek Gods, were created in the 1960s by the late Toronto artist Elford Bradley Cox, RCA (1914-2003). The sculptures represent gods, heroes, and monsters of Greek mythology. In 1979, the collection was acquired by Toronto restaurateur Athanasios Karamanos, better known as Arthur Carman. To celebrate his Greek heritage, Carman donated the collection to the City of Toronto for permanent display at Exhibition Place. Cox carved the sculptures from massive blocks of limestone, using an air hammer and chisels. They are some of the largest sculptures in Canada. Hercules is the tallest, at over three metres. Four additional Cox sculptures are located on these grounds, near the Queen Elizabeth Building. E.B. Cox is widely acknowledged as Canada‘s foremost sculptor in stone. His many works of public art can be found throughout the city and province, with countless smaller sculptures held by private collectors across the country and around the world.” 

Exhibition Place 2022 
Located on the south of the Better Living Centre in the Rose Garden
2023 – The plaque reads:

Garden of the Greek Gods

“These twenty stone sculptures, collectively known as the Garden of the Greek Gods, were created in the 1960s by the late Toronto artist Elford Bradley Cox, RCA (1914-2003). The sculptures represent gods, heroes, and monsters of Greek mythology.

In 1979, the collection was acquired by Toronto restaurateur Athanasios Karamanos, better known as Arthur Carman. To celebrate his Greek heritage, Carman donated the collection to the City of Toronto for permanent display at Exhibition Place.

Cox carved the sculptures from massive blocks of limestone, using an air hammer and chisels. They are some of the largest sculptures in Canada. Hercules is the tallest, at over three metres. Four additional Cox sculptures are located on these grounds, near the Queen Elizabeth Building.

E.B. Cox is widely acknowledged as Canada‘s foremost sculptor in stone. His many works of public art can be found throughout the city and province, with countless smaller sculptures held by private collectors across the country and around the world.”

Exhibition Place 2022
Located on the south of the Better Living Centre in the Rose Garden
2022 – During construction of the Garden of the Greek Gods by Colonial Building Restoration. The photo was taken from a terrace on the southwest corner of the Better Living Centre
2022 – During construction of the Garden of the Greek Gods by Colonial Building Restoration. The photo was taken from a terrace on the southwest corner of the Better Living Centre
2022 – Construction of the Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of Exhibition Place
2022 – Construction of the Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of Exhibition Place
1999 - Garden of the Greek Gods opened at Exhibition Place in 1979 and was located on the south lawn of the Horticulture Building. The collection was created by artist EB Cox and was initially located at Georgian Peaks ski resort in Thornbury, Ontario
1999 – Garden of the Greek Gods opened at Exhibition Place in 1979 and was located on the south lawn of the Horticulture Building. The collection was created by artist EB Cox and was initially located at Georgian Peaks ski resort in Thornbury, Ontario (Courtesy of Exhibition Place)
1999 - The Harpies on display on the south side of the Horticulture Building at Exhibition Place
1999 – The Harpies on display on the south side of the Horticulture Building at Exhibition Place (Courtesy of Exhibition Place)
August 17, 1978 - The sod turning for the Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of the Horticulture Building at Exhibition Place. From left to right are restaurateur Arthur Carman, CNE president Richard Horkin and sculptor Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox
August 17, 1978 – The sod turning for the Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of the Horticulture Building at Exhibition Place. From left to right are restaurateur Arthur Carman, CNE president Richard Horkin and sculptor Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
August 17, 1978 - The sod turning for the Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of the Horticulture Building. On the far left is artist Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox, who created the giant stone sculptures. Next to him is CNE president Richard Horkin. In the centre is Arthur Carman, who donated the collection of sculptures to the people of Toronto
August 17, 1978 – The sod turning for the Garden of the Greek Gods on the south side of the Horticulture Building. On the far left is artist Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox, who created the giant stone sculptures. Next to him is CNE president Richard Horkin. In the centre is Arthur Carman, who donated the collection of sculptures to the people of Toronto (Courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives)
Circa 2000 – A map showing the location of the Garden of the Greek Gods sculptures when they were on the south lawn of the Horticulture Building
Circa 2000 – A map showing the location of the Garden of the Greek Gods sculptures when they were on the south lawn of the Horticulture Building (Courtesy of Exhibition Place)
2023 - The house at 26 Alexander St was once Carman's Club. The restaurant was owned by Arthur Carman, who donated the Garden of the Greek Gods statues to the people of Toronto for display at Exhibition Place
2023 – The house at 26 Alexander St was once Carman’s Club. The restaurant was owned by Arthur Carman, who donated the Garden of the Greek Gods statues to the people of Toronto for display at Exhibition Place
SOURCE
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Jul 6, 1963, pg 13
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Dec 28, 1974, pg F3
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Feb 1, 1979, pg C15
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Feb 28, 1979, pg A2
  • The Parkdale Villager: Jun 13, 2016, pg 1
  • History of the Garden of the Greek Gods by Kathy Sutton (daughter of EB Cox), updated Apr 9, 2015
  • Digital Amphitheatre: EB Cox
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: Exhibition Place Records & Archives & Canadian National Exhibition Association Archives

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