Princes’ Gates – The Monumental Entrance to the CNE

Posted:

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 W) 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 the Canadian Confederation at the Canadian National Exhibition. The entrance was initially 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 was renamed after Edward, Prince of Wales, and his brother, Prince George, Duke of Kent. Both brothers attended the official opening of 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. The goddess stands in a ship of state protected by seahorses in waves. The four sculptures around her include:

  • Two figures, each holding a beehive representing labour
  • Two figures, each having a cornucopia representing agriculture and fruits of the harvest

Ontario’s Coat of Arms at the end of the two curved walls each has the following sculptures:

  • A woman holding grain sheafs represents 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 severely weathered and, in 1987, was replaced with a polymer resin replica. Until this time, she was holding a lamp in her right hand, which was replaced with a crown. In 1994, the other four sculptures were replaced with poured concrete, the medium they were initially made.

Princes’ Gates Photos

August 27, 2022 – Looking east toward the Princes' Gates
August 27, 2022 – Looking east toward the Princes’ Gates
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)
2020 - Looking southwest towards the Princes' Gates and the Hotel X Toronto in the background
2020 – Looking southwest towards the Princes’ Gates and the Hotel X Toronto in the background
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)
October 7, 2022 - Looking southwest toward the Princes' Gates
October 7, 2022 – Looking southwest toward the Princes’ Gates
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)
1928 - Sketch of the Princes' Gates by author Owen Staples
1928 – Sketch of the Princes’ Gates by author Owen Staples (Toronto Public Library R-2666)
2020 - The Princes' Gates arch
2020 – The Princes’ Gates arch
2021 – Looking up at the Princes' Gates arch
2021 – Looking up at the Princes’ Gates arch
2020 - Goddess of Winged Victory and seahorses sculpture at the Princes' Gates
2020 – Goddess of Winged Victory and seahorses sculpture at the Princes’ Gates
2020 – Goddess of Winged Victory and other figures at the top of the Princes’ Gates
2020 – Goddess of Winged Victory and other figures at the top of the Princes’ Gates
Circa 1928 – Looking northeast towards the Princes' Gates during a CNE marathon swim
Circa 1928 – Looking northeast towards the Princes’ Gates during a CNE marathon swim (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1941)
October 7, 2022 – Looking southwest toward the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place
October 7, 2022 – Looking southwest toward the Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place
August 29, 1928 – Looking northeast towards the Princes' Gates on the right during a CNE Women’s swim
August 29, 1928 – Looking northeast towards the Princes’ Gates on the right during a CNE Women’s swim (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 14544)
May 2, 1928 – Looking west towards the Princes' Gates
May 2, 1928 – Looking west towards the Princes’ Gates (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 5795)
1929 – Looking northeast towards the Engineering & Electrical Building (demolished in 1972) on the left and Princes' Gates in the centre during the construction of the Automotive Building
1929 – Looking northeast towards the Engineering & Electrical Building (demolished in 1972) on the left and Princes’ Gates in the centre during the construction of the Automotive Building (CNE Archives)
1929 - The Princes' Gates and the Canadian National Exhibition
1929 – The Princes’ Gates and the Canadian National Exhibition (Library and Archives Canada a060458)
September 7, 1931 - The CNE and Princes' Gates
September 7, 1931 – The CNE and Princes’ Gates (Library and Archives Canada PA-052988)
1937 - The CNE and Princes' Gates in the background
1937 – The CNE and Princes’ Gates in the background
2021 – Looking east towards the Princes' Gates from Exhibition Place
2021 – Looking east towards the Princes’ Gates from Exhibition Place
1926 - Princes' Gates model
1926 – Princes’ Gates model (Toronto Public Library R-2682)
1927 – Princes' Gates at night
1927 – Princes’ Gates at night (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 13190)
October 7, 2022 - Looking southeast towards the Princes' Gates during a tour of the Ghosts of Exhibition Place
October 7, 2022 – Looking southeast towards the Princes’ Gates during a tour of the Ghosts of Exhibition Place
1929 – Looking east towards the Princes' Gates
1929 – Looking east towards the Princes’ Gates (CNE Archives)
1931 – Looking east from the CNE towards the Princes' Gates
1931 – Looking east from the CNE towards the Princes’ Gates (CNE Archives)
2023 - Looking up at the Princes' Gates arch
2023 – Looking up at the Princes’ Gates arch
1939 – Looking west towards the Princes' Gates
1939 – Looking west towards the Princes’ Gates (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 938a)
August 27, 2022 - Looking northeast towards the Princes' Gates during the CNE
August 27, 2022 – Looking northeast towards the Princes’ Gates during the CNE
Date unknown - Princes' Gates
Date unknown – Princes’ Gates (Library and Archives Canada PA-052962)
1939 - Canadian National Exhibition poster
1939 – Canadian National Exhibition poster (CNE Archives)
1960s – Looking east from the CNE towards the Princes' Gates
1960s – Looking east from the CNE towards the Princes’ Gates (CNE Archives)
Circa 1950 - Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place were opened in 1927. The nine columns that flank the arch represent the then-nine provinces that were part of the Confederation
Circa 1950 – Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place were opened in 1927. The nine columns that flank the arch represent the then-nine provinces that were part of the Confederation (TorontoJourney416.com postcard collection)
Circa 1965 – The photo shows Victor Borge's "Contraption" car on the left. Mr Borge was a world-famous Danish-American comedian and pianist who headlined at the Ex. The car on the right is the "Untouchable" jet dragster built by Romeo Palamides. Notice the driver's cockpit on the tip of the spear. One remarkable item that almost goes unnoticed and is circled in red is the aluminum-suited man in the Bell Rocket Belt soaring to the right of the sculptures high atop the Princes’ Gates. The flyer wearing the backpack-like device was a Bell Aerosystems scientist
Circa 1965 – The photo shows Victor Borge’s “Contraption” car on the left. Mr Borge was a world-famous Danish-American comedian and pianist who headlined at the Ex. The car on the right is the “Untouchable” jet dragster built by Romeo Palamides. Notice the driver’s cockpit on the tip of the spear.

One remarkable item that almost goes unnoticed and is circled in red is the aluminum-suited man in the Bell Rocket Belt soaring to the right of the sculptures high atop the Princes’ Gates. The flyer wearing the backpack-like device was a Bell Aerosystems scientist (CNE Archives)
August 14, 2021 – Looking west toward the Princes' Gates and Exhibition Place
August 14, 2021 – Looking west toward the Princes’ Gates and Exhibition Place
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)
1965 - Corvair, car 304, leaving CNE grounds via Princes' Gates at the start of CNE's first marathon car rally
1965 – Corvair, car 304, leaving CNE grounds via Princes’ Gates at the start of CNE’s first marathon car rally (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5801)
1971 - Fun at the CNE in front of the Princes' Gates
1971 – Fun at the CNE in front of the Princes’ Gates (CNE Archives)
1980s - The Princes' Gates and Bulova Tower
1980s – The Princes’ Gates and Bulova Tower (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 416, Item 7)
2023 - Looking east from Exhibition Place towards the Princes' Gates and the CN Tower in the background
2023 – Looking east from Exhibition Place towards the Princes’ Gates and the CN Tower in the background
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)
2021 – Looking southwest towards the Princes' Gates
2021 – Looking southwest towards the Princes’ Gates
Between 1980s and 1990s – Looking northwest from the Martin Goodman Trail towards the Princes' Gates
Between 1980s and 1990s – Looking northwest from the Martin Goodman Trail towards the Princes’ Gates (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, Item 7)
2022 – Looking northwest from the Martin Goodman Trail and Coronation Park towards the Princes’ Gates and entrance to Exhibition Place at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd W in the Niagara neighbourhood of Toronto
2022 – Looking northwest from the Martin Goodman Trail and Coronation Park towards the Princes’ Gates and entrance to Exhibition Place at Strachan Ave and Lake Shore Blvd W in the Niagara neighbourhood of Toronto
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. The cement sculptures were created by artist Charles McKechnie. He also created the lions, sculptures and friezes at the Ontario Government Building, today home to Liberty Grand
2020 – Ontario’s Coat of Arms sculpture at the Princes’ Gates. The cement sculptures were created by artist Charles McKechnie. He also created the lions, sculptures and friezes at the Ontario Government Building, today home to Liberty Grand
October 7, 2022 - The curved end walls of the Princes' gates feature fountains, and at their pinnacles, Ontario's Coat of Arms and other skillfully crafted stone sculptures
October 7, 2022 – The curved end walls of the Princes’ gates feature fountains, and at their pinnacles, Ontario’s Coat of Arms and other skillfully crafted stone sculptures
2020 – One of the seahorses around the Winged Goddess of Victory, high atop the Princes' Gates
2020 – One of the seahorses around the Winged Goddess of Victory, high atop the Princes’ Gates
2020 - The Princes' Gates
2020 – The Princes’ Gates
2019 – At the CNE in front of the Princes' Gates
2019 – At the CNE in front of the Princes’ Gates
2020 - The heritage plaque reads: 

The Princes' Gates  

"This entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds was built in 1927 to commemorate 60 years of Canadian Confederation. The stone and concrete gates were designed by the Toronto firm of Chapman and Oxley and are a fine example of monumental architecture in the beaux-arts mode. Sculptor Charles D. McKechnie created the statues. The Winged Victory atop the central arch is flanked by figures representing the CNE's commitment to progress through industry, education and the arts. The gates were opened officially on August 30, 1927 by Edward, Prince of Wales, and Prince George. They have been known ever since as the "Princes' Gates." 

Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation
2020 – The heritage plaque reads:

The Princes’ Gates

“This entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds was built in 1927 to commemorate 60 years of Canadian Confederation. The stone and concrete gates were designed by the Toronto firm of Chapman and Oxley and are a fine example of monumental architecture in the beaux-arts mode. Sculptor Charles D. McKechnie created the statues. The Winged Victory atop the central arch is flanked by figures representing the CNE’s commitment to progress through industry, education and the arts. The gates were opened officially on August 30, 1927 by Edward, Prince of Wales, and Prince George. They have been known ever since as the “Princes’ Gates.”

Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation
2021 – The heritage plaque reads: Princes' Gates 

"These monumental gates were erected in 1927 to mark the 60th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the Toronto firm of Chapman and Oxley, the gates - including the sculptures - were constructed of "artificial stone" made from cement. The sculptures were modelled by Charles D. McKechnie. 

Designed during a period of great national confidence, the gates use the style of ancient Greece and Rome to celebrate both Canada and the Canadian National Exhibition. Originally named "The Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Gates," the structure was renamed the "Princes' Gates" for Edward, Prince of Wales, and his brother Prince George, who were both present at its official opening on August 30, 1927." 

Heritage Toronto 2003
2021 – The heritage plaque reads: Princes’ Gates

“These monumental gates were erected in 1927 to mark the 60th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the Toronto firm of Chapman and Oxley, the gates – including the sculptures – were constructed of “artificial stone” made from cement. The sculptures were modelled by Charles D. McKechnie.

Designed during a period of great national confidence, the gates use the style of ancient Greece and Rome to celebrate both Canada and the Canadian National Exhibition. Originally named “The Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Gates,” the structure was renamed the “Princes’ Gates” for Edward, Prince of Wales, and his brother Prince George, who were both present at its official opening on August 30, 1927.”

Heritage Toronto 2003
2020 – The heritage plaque reads: 

Designing the CNE'S Grand Entrance 

“The design of a grand eastern entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) was the result of visionary waterfront planning by Toronto architect Alfred H. Chapman. In the early 1920s, he was commissioned by the CNE to plan a major expansion of the fairgrounds, and by the Toronto Harbour Commission (THC) to design the western waterfront. In 1922, his firm, Chapman and Oxley, also completed the design of nearby Sunnyside Amusement Area for the THC.  

Working with engineers from the THC and the City of Toronto, Chapman's plan used landfill to extend the shore of the lake farther south, allowing for the construction of what is now Lake Shore Boulevard. Designed to dramatize the visual impact of the eastern entrance to the CNE grounds, the boulevard would be highlighted a few years later, in 1927, by Chapman and Oxley's monumental Princes' Gates”  

Heritage Toronto 2013  
Located near the Princes' Gates, at the Strachan Ave entrance to Exhibition Place
2020 – The heritage plaque reads:

Designing the CNE’S Grand Entrance

“The design of a grand eastern entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) was the result of visionary waterfront planning by Toronto architect Alfred H. Chapman. In the early 1920s, he was commissioned by the CNE to plan a major expansion of the fairgrounds, and by the Toronto Harbour Commission (THC) to design the western waterfront. In 1922, his firm, Chapman and Oxley, also completed the design of nearby Sunnyside Amusement Area for the THC.

Working with engineers from the THC and the City of Toronto, Chapman’s plan used landfill to extend the shore of the lake farther south, allowing for the construction of what is now Lake Shore Boulevard. Designed to dramatize the visual impact of the eastern entrance to the CNE grounds, the boulevard would be highlighted a few years later, in 1927, by Chapman and Oxley’s monumental Princes’ Gates”

Heritage Toronto 2013
Located near the Princes’ Gates, at the Strachan Ave entrance to Exhibition Place
2022 – The plaque reads:
Piazza Princes' Gates
"In 2005, a design competition was held for the revitalization of the important public space in front of the Princes' Gates. Building on strong connections between Canada and Italy, design teams consisting of firms from Milano and Toronto were invited to submit proposals. An international jury selected the winning team of Sering + Sistema Duemila (Milano) – The MBTW Group (Toronto). Their design interprets the theme, "Canada Past, Canada Present, Canada Future," and presents the revitalization project as a beacon of shared culture, friendship and design between Milano and Toronto.
The landscape elements of this redesigned piazza celebrate the Princes' Gates, and the Canada-Italy connection. Ten long bands of Canadian granite interpret the original symbolism of the Gates' columns into the surface of the piazza – each is engraved with the motto of a Canadian province. Seating blocks at the end of the granite bands are marked with the name of the corresponding province or a territory. The blocks are crafted of twinned pieces of granite – representing Milano and Toronto – joined together by light.
The Princes' Gates Revitalization Project is central to the twinning agreement between Milano and Toronto to promote business, trade and cultural relations between the two cities. This public project was also generously supported by the private sector."
Piazza Princes' Gates was officially opened on July 19,2006
2022 – The plaque reads:

Piazza Princes’ Gates

“In 2005, a design competition was held for the revitalization of the important public space in front of the Princes’ Gates. Building on strong connections between Canada and Italy, design teams consisting of firms from Milano and Toronto were invited to submit proposals. An international jury selected the winning team of Sering + Sistema Duemila (Milano) – The MBTW Group (Toronto). Their design interprets the theme, “Canada Past, Canada Present, Canada Future,” and presents the revitalization project as a beacon of shared culture, friendship and design between Milano and Toronto.

The landscape elements of this redesigned piazza celebrate the Princes’ Gates, and the Canada-Italy connection. Ten long bands of Canadian granite interpret the original symbolism of the Gates’ columns into the surface of the piazza – each is engraved with the motto of a Canadian province. Seating blocks at the end of the granite bands are marked with the name of the corresponding province or a territory. The blocks are crafted of twinned pieces of granite – representing Milano and Toronto – joined together by light.

The Princes’ Gates Revitalization Project is central to the twinning agreement between Milano and Toronto to promote business, trade and cultural relations between the two cities. This public project was also generously supported by the private sector.”

Piazza Princes’ Gates was officially opened on July 19,2006
2020 – The heritage plaque reads:
The Warriors' Day Parade
"At the end of the First World War (1914-1918), activities took place across Canada to commemorate the country's wartime efforts and to honour the over 60,000 Canadians lost. One of the most significant and lasting events was a veterans' parade held at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1919. Edward, Prince of Wales, opened the Exhibition and conducted a military review of the thousands of veterans who attended. In 1921, the annual parade became the highlight of the Exhibition's new Warrior's Day (later Warriors' Day). The Warriors' Day Parade has marched through the Princes' Gates since 1927, honouring the veterans and the over 100,000 who perished in the Boer War, the Great War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and in peacekeeping missions around the world."
Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario
Located near the Princes' Gates, at the Strachan Ave entrance to Exhibition Place
2020 – The heritage plaque reads:

The Warriors’ Day Parade

“At the end of the First World War (1914-1918), activities took place across Canada to commemorate the country’s wartime efforts and to honour the over 60,000 Canadians lost. One of the most significant and lasting events was a veterans’ parade held at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1919. Edward, Prince of Wales, opened the Exhibition and conducted a military review of the thousands of veterans who attended. In 1921, the annual parade became the highlight of the Exhibition’s new Warrior’s Day (later Warriors’ Day). The Warriors’ Day Parade has marched through the Princes’ Gates since 1927, honouring the veterans and the over 100,000 who perished in the Boer War, the Great War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and in peacekeeping missions around the world.”

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario
Located near the Princes’ Gates, at the Strachan Ave entrance to Exhibition Place
2023 – The plaque reads:
"The Princes' Gates were officially opened on Tuesday August the thirteenth – MDCCCCXXVII – by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales accompanied by H.R.H. Prince George
First to pass through these gates was a Veterans Parade under the auspices the Canadian Legion, the British Empire Service League for review by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales"
2022 – The plaque reads: “The Princes’ Gates were officially opened on Tuesday August the thirteenth – MDCCCCXXVII – by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales accompanied by H.R.H. Prince George First to pass through these gates was a Veterans Parade under the auspices the Canadian Legion, the British Empire Service League for review by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales”
2022 – A granite bench commemorating the Princes' Gates is located on the north side of the Automotive Building. It's one of 18 granite benches at Exhibition Place that were designed by Toronto-based artist Stephen Cruise and installed in 2007
2022 – A granite bench commemorating the Princes’ Gates is located on the north side of the Automotive Building. It’s one of 18 granite benches at Exhibition Place that were designed by Toronto-based artist Stephen Cruise and installed in 2007
SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

24,077FollowersFollow
103FollowersFollow
8,850FollowersFollow