Dufferin Gate

The Dufferin Gate is one of the main entrances into the west end of the Exhibition grounds. It consists of a parabolic arch, constructed in steel and concrete which rises 65 feet to span Dufferin Street. At the time it was built in 1959, the Dufferin Gate’s simple and clean lines reflected a shift from traditional style to a modern aesthetic. Photo courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Archives, ca 1960

The Dufferin Gate was built in 1959 by Toronto architect Philip R. Brook in association with Design Craft, fountain designers. The modern proposal for a new western entrance was a shift away from the decorative style of the previous gate constructed in 1912 by architect George W. Gouinlock. On either side of the parabolic arch, single storey pavilions containing public washrooms and service areas are built of concrete, faced with red brick, and trimmed with green terrazzo. The spaces between the arch and the pavilions are covered by flat canopies whose supports rise through the roofs as flag standards, joining the rows of flagpoles flanking the buildings. Fountains with coloured lights at the base of the arch have been replaced with planters. The form of the structure predates the trio of concrete arches at Nathan Phillips Square built in 1965 and the internationally-recognized stainless steel Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri also built in 1965.


The western entrance to Exhibition Place has undergone several transformations. The first structure built was a wide wooden gate that stood over Dufferin Street when it was still a dirt road. Then, in 1912, architect George W. Gouinlock designed an elaborate structure featuring twin towers and decorative ironwork. The gate was intended to be a tribute to the exhibition that had become Canada’s largest annual fair. Until the Princes’ Gates were opened in 1927, Gouinlock’s Dufferin Gate was the principal entrance into the Exhibition grounds. It was demolished in the late 1950s to make way for the Gardiner Expressway. Today, the Dufferin Gate remains as one of the main entrances into Exhibition Place.


Source: Toronto Historical Board, "Property Research Summary," 1992.