Garden of the Greek Gods

Just to the south of the Horticulture Building, now the Toronto Event Centre, stand twenty magnificent stone sculptures depicting ancient Gods of Greek mythology. Known as The Garden of the Greek Gods, the works were created by the late Toronto artist Elford Bradley Cox (1914-2003).

Cox carved the sculptures from huge blocks of limestone, using an air hammer and chisels.  Among them are Medusa, Pan, Orpheus, Centaur, Minotaur, and many more. Hercules is the tallest, at over 3 metres.

The Gods’ first home, in 1964, was among the trees and trails of the Georgian Peaks ski resort. In 1976, they became a popular attraction at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  Two years later, Greek-born restaurateur Arthur Carmen purchased the collection from Cox and donated it to the City of Toronto for permanent public display at Exhibition Place. 

E.B. Cox is widely acknowledged as Canada’s foremost sculptor in stone.  He always intended that the Gods be in an outdoor setting, and encouraged children to climb upon them. His many works can be found throughout the city and province, as well as in public and private collections and galleries worldwide.

For further information about the Garden of the Greek Gods, please contact Exhibition Place Records and Archives, JEdwards@explace.on.ca, 416-263-3676.

Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Goddess of love, also known as Venus, born of the sea she reached shore riding a scallop shell.
Boy on a Dolphin
Boy on a Dolphin
Many stories come down from antiquity of children having dolphins for playmates and sailors being helped to shore by dolphins.
Centaur
Centaur
One of a jolly race of creatures, half man, half horse, who lived in the forest of ancient Greece and were very hard to catch.
Cerberus
Cerberus
This savage three-headed dog guarded the gates of Hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.
Cyclops
Cyclops
One of the race of giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.
Harpies
Harpies
These bird women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the hearts of evil-doers.
Hercules
Hercules
The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The Gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean lion.
Hydra
Hydra
A monstrous dragon with nine heads originally – however if one head was cut off, two heads grew in its place. This one has 14 heads so figure how many heads were cut off?
Medusa
Medusa
One of three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone
Mermaid
Mermaid
A sea nymph having the body of a woman and the tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young dolphin.
Minotaur
Minotaur
Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the king of Crete until vanquished by the Greek prince Theseus.
Narciuss
Narcissus
A handsome young man who pined away for the love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.
Orpheus
Orpheus
He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the lyre and his heavenly singing.
Pan
Pan
The elusive god of the forest, half man, half goat, full of fun and games. He invented the reed pipes and filled the woods with their sounds.
Phoenix
Phoenix
After living in the desert for 500 years, this bird was consumed by fire. It rose anew from its own ashes and is the symbol of eternal life.
Sea Horse
Sea Horse
These creatures appeared on the surface of the Mediterranean as whitecaps. In large groups they could stir up quite a storm if the wind was right.
Sphinx
Sphinx
A strange creature with claws of a bird and the body and tail of a lion. This woman would devour passing travelers if they could not answer her riddle right away
The Graces
Three Graces
These beauties were judged by Paris and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.
Triton
Triton
He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.
Typhon
Typhon
Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving specimen doesn’t seem so very fierce.