In the TNG episode "Contagion", the sister ship of the Enterprise-D, the USS Yamato, is destroyed. An investigation into the cause leads the Enterprise to a planet in the Neutral Zone whose existence proves that the mythical "Iconians" — technologically-advanced beings who were purportedly able to hop nearly instantaneously from planet to planet — were real.
On Iconia, Picard, Data, and Worf enter a control room in which an inter-planetary gateway appears. It seems to cycle between a number of pre-programmed destinations around the galaxy.
I watched the episode today and — being a Toronto resident at the moment — I was very surprised to see that one of the destinations is Toronto City Hall. In the screen capture below, Worf is standing beside the gateway. The two semi-circular towers and central pod of City Hall are clearly visible, as are the arches over the reflecting pool in Nathan Phillips Square (which City Hall is a part of).
Here is a photo of City Hall from almost the same angle:
The "Toronto" destination doesn't seem to be random necessarily, since the scene in the episode shows the gateway cycling between what appears to be a fixed number of destinations.
My question is:
Why would the Iconians want to visit Toronto City Hall (or whatever the building is supposed to represent here)?
I am interested in both in-universe and out-of-universe aspects of this issue. Was this indeed Toronto in-universe, or was it supposed to represent somewhere else? Out-of-universe, how did an image of Toronto City Hall come to be on The Next Generation as an alien vacation spot?
Having done a bit of research, I should add that I am already aware of the following dubious comment in the Memory Alpha article on the episode:
A stock photograph of Toronto City Hall was viewed through the Iconian gateway as a potential destination for the Iconians. Due to the advanced age of the gateway, it is unlikely that this photograph was intended to represent the Earth city.
I can certainly accept that the building is not City Hall in-universe, but I find this unsupported comment dubious because of the way at which it arrives at its conclusion. There is no indication in the episode that the imagery in the gateway is from the time that the gateway was built. On the contrary, the images seem to be current, including the Enterprise-D bridge itself:
This comment aside, is there any information on the in-universe and out-of-universe reasons for why Toronto makes a cameo here?