Princes’ Gates – The Monumental Entrance to the CNE

1929 - The Princes' Gates at the Canadian National Exhibition
1929 – The Princes’ Gates at the Canadian National Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7108)

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?

2019 - The impressive Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place
2019 – The impressive Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place

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.

Princes’ Gates Photos

2019 - The impressive Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place
2019 – The impressive Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place
1929 - The Princes' Gates at the Canadian National Exhibition
1929 – The Princes’ Gates at the Canadian National Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7108)
1927 - Construction of the Princes' Gates during the spring
1927 – Construction of the Princes’ Gates during the spring (City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail Fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 10940)
1927 - The Prince of Wales opening the Princes' Gates at the CNE
1927 – The Prince of Wales opening the Princes’ Gates at the CNE (City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail Fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 11384)
2020 - The Princes' Gates arch
2020 – The Princes’ Gates arch
1927 - The Princes' Gates
1927 – The Princes’ Gates (Archives of Ontario I0012500)
2020 - Goddess of Winged Victory and seahorses sculpture at the Princes' Gates
2020 – Goddess of Winged Victory and seahorses sculpture at the Princes’ Gates
1929 - The Princes' Gates and the Canadian National Exhibition
1929 – The Princes’ Gates and the Canadian National Exhibition (Library and Archives Canada a060458)
1931 - The CNE and Princes' Gates
1931 – The CNE and Princes’ Gates (Library and Archives Canada a052988)
1937 - The CNE and Princes' Gates
1937 – The CNE and Princes’ Gates (Library and Archives Canada a057033)
1939 - Canadian National Exhibition poster
1939 – Canadian National Exhibition poster (CNE Archives)
1960's - Victor Borge with his Contraption and the Untouchable Dragster
1960’s – Victor Borge with his Contraption and the Untouchable Dragster (CNE Archives)
1965 - Car 305 leaving Exhibition grounds via Princes' Gates, at the start of The CNE's first marathon car rally
1965 – Car 305 leaving Exhibition grounds via Princes’ Gates, at the start of The CNE’s first marathon car rally (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5802)
1971 - Fun at the CNE and Princes' Gates
1971 – Fun at the CNE and Princes’ Gates (CNE Archives)
1980's - The Princes' Gates and Bulova Tower
1980’s – The Princes’ Gates and Bulova Tower (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 416, Item 7)
1981 - Overhead view of the Princes' Gates, the CNE and surrounding area
1981 – Overhead view of the Princes’ Gates, the CNE and surrounding area (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 95, Item 86)
2020 - Sculpture holding a cornucopia at the Princes' Gates
2020 – Sculpture holding a cornucopia at the Princes’ Gates
2020 - Sculpture holding a beehive at the Princes' Gates
2020 – Sculpture holding a beehive at the Princes’ Gates
2020 - Man with a cogged wheel sculpture at the Princes' Gates
2020 – Man with a cogged wheel sculpture at the Princes’ Gates
2020 - Ontario's Coat of Arms sculpture at the Princes' Gates
2020 – Ontario’s Coat of Arms sculpture at the Princes’ Gates
2020 - The Princes' Gates
2020 – The Princes’ Gates
2020 - The Princes' Gates heritage plaque
2020 – The Princes’ Gates heritage plaque
2019/1931- Princes’ Gates entrance to Exhibition Place, at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd W
2019/1931- Princes’ Gates entrance to Exhibition Place, at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd W (Library and Archives Canada a052988)
2019/1960 - Princes’ Gates entrance to Exhibition Place, at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd W
2019/1960 – Princes’ Gates entrance to Exhibition Place, at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd W (CNE Archives)
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