Princess Margaret Fountain

Exhibition Place is fortunate to have beautiful fountains that add to the landscaping and beauty of the grounds. One such fountain, the Princess Margaret Fountain, was installed in 1958 to replace the Gooderham Fountain. Photo courtesy of the Canadian National Exhibition Archives, taken during the 1960 CNE

The Gooderham Fountain, constructed in 1911, was a monument to the wealthy industrialist William Gooderham who, along with his brother-in-law James Worts, established the Gooderham and Worts distillery in Toronto in 1837.  The fountain was constructed on what was called the "Grand Plaza of Exhibition City," between the Horticulture Building, the Graphic Arts Building and the Administrative Building (Press Building).  It became a favourite place for fair-goers to meet with friends and family. In 1957 the CNE Board of Directors sought to either renovate the Gooderham Fountain or replace it entirely.  City of Toronto Council approved the construction of a new fountain and the CNE allocated a budget of $70,000 to cover the costs.

The Princess Margaret Fountain was built approximately 100 feet south of where the Gooderham Fountain was situated.  It is set in a prominent location directly across from the Queen Elizabeth Building, at the intersection of Princes’ Boulevard, Manitoba Drive and PEI Crescent.  The fountain was designed by the Toronto based exhibit-display firm Design Craft and installed in 1958.  It consists of tiers of three progressively larger circular basins constructed of steel and reinforced concrete clad in terrazzo.  This triple bowl design allows the water to cascade over the edges of the fountain.  The fountain was designed to have a 16 colour-changing light show when operated at night.  The original lighting design had 89 lights for the lower pool, 29 lights for the center bowl and 13 lights for the upper bowl.  These lights were controlled by a colour changing apparatus that would light the fan jets.

The new fountain was dedicated by its namesake, Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited Exhibition Place on July 31st during her Canadian tour in 1958.  The Princess pushed the button of the fountain that started the jets and colour show.  20,000 visitors packed the Grandstand as Princess Margaret stopped to greet guests and take in a 2,000,000 bloom flower show in her honour.

Source: The Telegram, Toronto, August 1, 1958

The Princess Margaret Fountain is still a favourite meeting spot for members of the public attending events at the west end of the grounds of Exhibition Place.  The fountain operates starting at the beginning of summer and the colours change on a timed delay.