Garden of the Greek Gods
Relocation Information & Updates
On July 14th, 2021, Toronto City Council approved an agreement with the Toronto Event Centre. One of the provisions in the agreement permits Exhibition Place to relocate the Garden of the Greek Gods to a more accessible community viewing location at Exhibition Place.
In September 2014, the Board of Governors approved a Working Group to evaluate options for relocating the Garden of the Greek Gods. Chaired by the CEO of Exhibition Place, the Working Group included Kathy Sutton (the artist’s daughter), staff from the local Councillor’s office, and representation from the City’s Museum and Heritage Services and the Toronto Greek Community, as well as Exhibition Place staff.
After a thorough analysis and consideration of 14 potential sites, the Working Group determined that the Greek Gods’ best location would be the Rose Garden area south of Bandshell Park. Notably, this site was favoured by the artist in 1979, prior to the establishment of the original sculpture garden on the south lawn of the Horticulture Building.
Exhibition Place aims to have the relocation completed by summer 2022. Timeline information is posted here, and will be updated as the project progresses.
Phase 1: Prep Work (Fall 2021-Winter 2022)
- Site review of the Rose Garden, including locating for utilities/infrastructure and potential archaeological work (Complete)
- Condition assessment of the sculptures in their current location & plans for moving them (Complete)
- Confirm desired locations of sculptures in site plan (Complete)
Phase 2: Design (Fall 2021-Winter 2022)
- Finalize individual sculpture locations based on prep work & input from Working Group (Complete)
- Finalize all other design aspects (foundations, lighting, signage) (Complete)
- Present design documentation and updates to Working Group
Phase 3: Move (Spring-Summer 2022)
- Tender process for General Contractor to build bases & other infrastructure (Ongoing)
- Construction overseen by James Bailey & team
- Final relocation of the sculptures to the Rose Garden
Exhibition Place staff conduct monthly inspections of the sculptures in their current location to ensure their continued preservation. Brief summaries and a photograph from the latest inspection are provided here. For additional photographs and more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
November 26, 2021
The damp weather has encouraged moss growth, and changing seasons have caused leaves to pile up near some of the sculptures. Leaves have been moved away from the base of the sculptures where possible.
December 6, 2021
Continued damp weather has contributed to additional moss growth. Some sculptures are under a temporary canopy tent.
January 26, 2022
The recent snowy weather has made many of the sculptures difficult to access and inspect closely.
February 23, 2022
Fluctuating temperatures have melted most of the snow on and around the sculptures, with some ice still present.
March 29, 2022
Conditions have dried out but moss and discolouration remains. This will be addressed as part of the conservation work.
Updates & News
History 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 Carman 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.
Goddess of love, also known as Venus, born of the sea she reached shore riding a scallop shell.
Boy on a Dolphin
Many stories come down from antiquity of children having dolphins for playmates and sailors being helped to shore by dolphins.
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.
This savage three-headed dog guarded the gates of Hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.
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.
These bird women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the hearts of evil-doers.
The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The Gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean lion.
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?
One of three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone
A sea nymph having the body of a woman and the tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young dolphin.
Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the king of Crete until vanquished by the Greek prince Theseus.
A handsome young man who pined away for the love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.
He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the lyre and his heavenly singing.
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.
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.
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.
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
These beauties were judged by Paris and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.
He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.
Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving specimen doesn’t seem so very fierce.