New City Hall Square, Bay and Queen Sts., Toronto
The Peace Garden is on the east side of Nathan Phillips Square. The plaque explains: “This Peace Garden represents the desire of the people of Toronto for peace among the nations and peoples of the world. The structure in the garden symbolizes shelter and community, and with its incomplete roof, the vulnerability of our efforts to achieve peace. The eternal flame is our hope; the water represents our faith in the renewal of life”.
During the Second World War Toronto adopted Stalingrad (now Volgograd) as a sister city, sending aid to the embattled legions in the common struggle against Hitler fascism. In 1970 the city undertook peace initiatives when it dedicated itself to international cooperation and world law. In 1982 a municipal referendum on world disarmament was supported by 78 % of the voters. In January 1983 Toronto declared itself a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and later that year City Council approved the Peace Garden project. Toronto has taken part in a number of exchanges with the two Japanese cities on which nuclear bombs were dropped (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). In 1986 the Toronto Disarmament Network and the City of Toronto co-sponsored a Peace Festival to celebrate the United Nations declaration of 1986 as International Year of Peace. In the 1990s City Council endorsed the World Court Project, part of an initiative to abolish nuclear weapons, which succeeded in declaring nuclear weapons illegal.