The Princes’ Gates are located at Exhibition Place (at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd West) in Toronto. They are one of two main entrances to the grounds and The CNE, the other being the Dufferin Gate.
About the Grand Gates
The iconic gates were opened in 1927, in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation at the Canadian National Exhibition. In fact, the entrance was originally named “The Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Gates”.
The Beaux-Arts style structure was designed by Toronto architects Chapman & Oxley, while the sculptures were created by Charles McKechnie, all made from cement. The nine Ionic columns that flank the arch represent the then-nine provinces that were part of the Confederation. Earlier in the decade, Alfred Chapman had also been hired to design the nearby Toronto Harbour Commission building.
How Did the Gates Get Their Name?
The Princes’ Gates were renamed after Edward, Prince of Wales along with his brother, Prince George, Duke of Kent. Both brothers attended the official opening during the Canadian National Exhibition on August 30, 1927.
The Princes’ Gates Sculptures
High atop the gates is the Goddess of Winged Victory leading Canada into the future. She’s 3.6 m or 12 ft tall and holds a crown overhead in her left hand and a maple leaf in the right. Protected by seahorses in waves, the goddess stands in a ship of state. The four sculptures around her include:
- Two statues each holding a beehive representing labour
- Two statues each holding a cornucopia representing agriculture and fruits of the harvest
Ontario’s Coat of Arms at the end of the two curved walls each have the following sculptures:
- A woman holding grain sheafs representing farming
- A man with his hand on a cogged wheel with chains near his feet and drawings in his lap representing industry and construction
Goddess of Winged Victory Gets Replaced
The Princes’ Gates received heritage status in 1973. The Winged Victory sculpture was badly weathered and in 1987 was replaced with a polymer resin replica. Up until this time, she was holding a lamp in her right hand which has been replaced with a crown. In 1994, the other four sculptures were replaced with poured concrete, the medium in which they were originally made.