The Princess Margaret Fountain is located at Princes’ Blvd and Manitoba Dr at Exhibition Place in Toronto.
The Fountain’s Design
The contemporary fountain stands 3.6 m or 12 ft tall. It’s made of reinforced concrete and steel and was created by the Toronto-based company Design Craft Limited. Surrounded by a flower garden and a pool, the two-tier Princess Margaret Fountain sits on a pedestal with terrazzo-covered steel supports under each tier. Water springs from the top of the fountain into a smaller basin. It then cascades into the larger lower basin before falling into the pool below.
Princess Margaret’s 1958 Visit
In the summer of 1958, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret was on a month-long tour of Canada. About a week before her Toronto visit, Mayor Nathan Phillips received word that the Princess approved of her name being used for the new Exhibition fountain.
On July 31, 1958, 27-year-old Princess Margaret arrived in Toronto. She disembarked the nine-railcar Royal train at the Riverdale Park station and was greeted by officials. A local newspaper mentioned the Don River was deodorized for the occasion.
Over 500,000 people lined Toronto’s streets to watch the motorcade pass by. There was a stop at Old City Hall for a ceremony, then Princess Margaret’s convertible drove up University Ave around Queen’s Park Cres and back down Bay St through a shower of ticker tape and flag-waving fans. Next was a luncheon at the Royal York Hotel with 800 guests. It was where Leslie Frost, Premier of Ontario, announced a new $10,000,000 cancer research centre would be named after the Princess.
A Colourful Ceremony at Exhibition Grounds
At the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand, thousands were waiting for a glimpse of the Princess. On the stage was a floral replica of the fountain. Princess Margaret appeared briefly near the Grandstand, where the crowd stood and cheered.
At the fountain, rockets soared into the sky, releasing flags of the Commonwealth nations when the Princess pressed a button to start the Exhibition’s new centrepiece. Time did not allow for a speech at the fountain. The Princess was off to Parkdale Station to leave a captivated Toronto for the next stop on her tour.
Did You Know?
Princess Margaret Rose Windsor, Countess of Snowdon, was born in 1930 and passed away in 2002. She was the younger sister and only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II.
From 1867 until 1958, Princess Margaret was the 9th Royal to visit Canada.
Princess Margaret Hospital was founded as the Ontario Cancer Institute in 1952. It was initially located at 500 Sherbourne St and Wellesley St E, on the northwest corner. During the 1958 Royal visit, the hospital was officially renamed in her honour. In 1995, the hospital moved to 610 University Ave and the following year, Princess Margaret visited once again to formally re-open the 130-bed cancer hospital, today known as the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
From 1911 until 1958, the Gooderham Fountain was located approximately 31 m or 100 ft northwest of where the Princess Margaret Fountain stands today.
When the fountain was installed, it was valued at $300,000.
In a 1959 CNE closing night prank, someone turned the fountain into a mound of bubbles that made their way over to the Bandshell.
The fountain received heritage status from the City of Toronto in 1993.