In 1910, it was announced that George Horace Gooderham, President of the CNE and an Ontario MPP, was donating a fountain to the Canadian National Exhibition. The contract for the fountain went to a firm in London, England and had a deadline of July 1911. The fountain was a monument to George’s grandfather William Gooderham and his great uncle James Worts who founded the Gooderham & Worts distillery in 1837.
The Gooderham Fountain
In 1911, the fountain was installed and later unveiled in a ceremony during the CNE. It was made of Carrera marble, stood 4.6 m or 15 ft high and was a replica of the Fountains of St Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy. The fountain sat on an octagonal base surrounded by a pool. Its smaller upper basin was inverted (like a mushroom cap) and decorated with scales. When water sprouted from the top over the scales, the water would shatter, spray and sparkle before falling into the larger lower basin and then into the pool below.
At the time, Exhibition grounds were being transformed. A part of the improvements and rebuilding was the construction of the “Grand Plaza at Exhibition City.” Many roads at the CNE lead to the plaza, and its centrepiece was the Gooderham Fountain. Buildings around it include the Horticulture, Administration, former Graphic Art & Photography and the former Manufacturers Building.
For decades, the fountain was a meeting place for thousands during the annual fair, inspiring the phrase “Meet me at the fountain!”
The Fountain’s Replacement
While plans were announced in late 1957 to move the Gooderham Fountain elsewhere on Exhibition grounds and restore it at the cost of $70,000, it was instead torn down. In 1958, the Princess Margaret Fountain was installed and is located approximately 31 m or 100 ft southeast of where the Gooderham Fountain once stood.
Gooderham Fountain Photos
The Globe Newspaper Archives: Oct 12, 1910, pg 8
The Globe Newspaper Archives: Aug 11, 1911, pg 9
The Globe Newspaper Archives: Aug 22, 1924, pg 12
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Jan 27, 1958, pg 13