Gooderham Fountain – Meet me at the Fountain!

1920s – The Gooderham Fountain was once located at Exhibition grounds. It sat on an octagonal base ringed by a pool. The fountain's smaller upper basin was inverted 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 into the pool below. Notice the former Graphic Arts & Photography Building in the background
1920s – The Gooderham Fountain was once located at Exhibition grounds (CNE Archives)

The Gooderham Fountain was once located just northwest of where the Princess Margaret Fountain stands today (at Princes’ Blvd and Manitoba Dr) at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

A Gift from George Gooderham

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.

1924 - Canadian National Exhibition poster showing the Gooderham Fountain
1924 – Canadian National Exhibition poster showing the Gooderham Fountain (CNE Archives)

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

1920s –  The Gooderham Fountain was once located at Exhibition grounds. It sat on an octagonal base ringed by a pool. The fountain's smaller upper basin was inverted 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 into the pool below. Notice the former Graphic Arts & Photography Building in the background
1920s – The Gooderham Fountain was once located at Exhibition grounds. It sat on an octagonal base ringed by a pool. The fountain’s smaller upper basin was inverted 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 into the pool below. Notice the former Graphic Arts & Photography Building in the background (CNE Archives)
1911 – Looking west on the "Grand Plaza of Exhibition City," where Princes' Blvd at Manitoba Dr intersect today. The covered Gooderham Fountain in the centre was presented for the 1911 CNE. Notice the Horticulture Building on the left and the Administration Building, also known as the Press Building, on the right
1911 – Looking west on the “Grand Plaza of Exhibition City,” where Princes’ Blvd at Manitoba Dr intersect today. The covered Gooderham Fountain in the centre was presented for the 1911 CNE. Notice the Horticulture Building on the left and the Administration Building, also known as the Press Building, on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 942)
Circa 1912 - Crowds around the pool of the Gooderham Fountain, once located at Exhibition Place. The fountain was the centrepiece of "Grand Plaza of Exhibition City," surrounded by the Horticulture, Administration, former Graphic Art & Photography and the former Manufactures Buildings
Circa 1912 – Crowds around the pool of the Gooderham Fountain, once located at Exhibition Place. The fountain was the centrepiece of “Grand Plaza of Exhibition City,” surrounded by the Horticulture, Administration, former Graphic Art & Photography and the former Manufactures Buildings (CNE Archives)
1913 - The Gooderham Fountain and the Bandstand were once located at Exhibition grounds with Lake Ontario in the background. The fountain 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
1913 – The Gooderham Fountain and the Bandstand were once located at Exhibition grounds with Lake Ontario in the background. The fountain 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 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Sub Series 52, Item 98)
1915 - Sunset over the Gooderham Fountain with the Bandstand on the right. At the time, Exhibition grounds were transformed into a military training and housing area during World War I, known as Exhibition Camp
1915 – Sunset over the Gooderham Fountain with the Bandstand on the right. At the time, Exhibition grounds were transformed into a military training and housing area during World War I, known as Exhibition Camp (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1548, Series 393, Item 12626a)
1920 - The Gooderham Fountain and the Manufacturers Building with fireworks lighting-up in the night sky
1920 – The Gooderham Fountain and the Manufacturers Building with fireworks lighting-up in the night sky (CNE Archives)
1920 – Postcard of the Grand Plaza featuring the Gooderham Fountain and the Horticulture Building during the Canadian National Exhibition
1920 – Postcard of the Grand Plaza featuring the Gooderham Fountain and the Horticulture Building during the Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto Public Library PC50)
1920s – The Gooderham Fountain with the Horticultural Building in the background at Exhibition Place
1920s – The Gooderham Fountain with the Horticultural Building in the background at Exhibition Place (CNE Archives)
1922 - The Gooderham Fountain was once located in the centre of the "Grand Plaza at Exhibition City." Presented by George Gooderham in 1911, its cascading waters inspired the phrase "Meet me at the fountain!"
1922 – The Gooderham Fountain was once located in the centre of the “Grand Plaza at Exhibition City.” Presented by George Gooderham in 1911, its cascading waters inspired the phrase “Meet me at the fountain!” (Toronto Public Library R-4195)
1924 - A Canadian National Exhibition poster highlighting the Gooderham Fountain with the Horticulture Building and Government Building in the background
1924 – A Canadian National Exhibition poster highlighting the Gooderham Fountain with the Horticulture Building and Government Building in the background (CNE Archives)
1925 - The Gooderham Fountain with the Horticultural Building and the Administration Building in the background at Exhibition Place
1925 – The Gooderham Fountain with the Horticultural Building and the Administration Building in the background at Exhibition Place (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 1444)
Circa 1928 - Painting of the Gooderham Fountain by Canadian artist Owen Staples. Mr Staples was employed as the staff illustrator and artist for the Toronto Telegram
Circa 1928 – Painting of the Gooderham Fountain by Canadian artist Owen Staples. Mr Staples was employed as the staff illustrator and artist for the Toronto Telegram (Toronto Public Library R-4188)
1936 - For decades, the Gooderham Fountain was a meeting place for thousands during the Canadian National Exhibition. It inspired the phrase “Meet me at the fountain!”
1936 – For decades, the Gooderham Fountain was a meeting place for thousands during the Canadian National Exhibition. It inspired the phrase “Meet me at the fountain!” (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 11541)
1938 - The Gooderham Fountain with the Manufacturers Building in the background at Exhibition grounds. The Gooderham Fountain once located about 31 m or 100 ft northwest of where the Princess Margaret Fountain stands today
1938 – The Gooderham Fountain with the Manufacturers Building in the background at Exhibition grounds. The Gooderham Fountain once located about 31 m or 100 ft northwest of where the Princess Margaret Fountain stands today (CNE Archives)
1949 - Crowds surrounding the Gooderham Fountain at the Canadian National Exhibition. During the CNE, the landmark was a popular meeting place
1949 – Crowds surrounding the Gooderham Fountain at the Canadian National Exhibition. During the CNE, the landmark was a popular meeting place (CNE Archives)
1950 - Looking north towards the Gooderham Fountain, once located at Exhibition grounds. Notice the Administration Building, also known as the Press Building, in the background on the left
1950 – Looking north towards the Gooderham Fountain, once located at Exhibition grounds. Notice the Administration Building, also known as the Press Building, in the background on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1128, Series 380, Item 327)
1953 - The Bristol Crown celebrating the coronation of Elizabeth II. Notice the Gooderham Fountain in the background
1953 – The Bristol Crown celebrating the coronation of Elizabeth II. Notice the Gooderham Fountain in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 536, Item 83)
1953 - Standing by the magnificent Gooderham Fountain once located at Exhibition grounds, where Princes' Blvd and Manitoba Dr intersect today
1953 – Standing by the magnificent Gooderham Fountain once located at Exhibition grounds, where Princes’ Blvd and Manitoba Dr intersect today (Toronto Public Library R-3486)
1954 - A night photo of the Gooderham Fountain with the Manufacturers Building in the background at Exhibition grounds
1954 – A night photo of the Gooderham Fountain with the Manufacturers Building in the background at Exhibition grounds (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 94, Item 4)
2022 – The Princess Margaret Fountain replaced the Gooderham Fountain in 1958. The new fountain is located approximately 31 m or 100 ft southeast of where the Gooderham fountain was situated, at Princes' Blvd and Manitoba Dr
2022 – The Princess Margaret Fountain replaced the Gooderham Fountain in 1958. The new fountain is located approximately 31 m or 100 ft southeast of where the Gooderham fountain was situated, at Princes’ Blvd and Manitoba Dr
2022 – The plaque on the Princess Margaret Fountain reads, "In 1911, a fountain, which was a replica of one in St. Peter's Square, Rome, Italy, was erected on this site and presented to the Canadian National Exhibition by Mr. George H. Gooderham during his final year as President. That fountain was replaced by the present one in 1958."
2022 – The plaque on the Princess Margaret Fountain reads, “In 1911, a fountain, which was a replica of one in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, Italy, was erected on this site and presented to the Canadian National Exhibition by Mr. George H. Gooderham during his final year as President. That fountain was replaced by the present one in 1958.”
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