**Published: **

Schwinger's finite (D) dimensional periodic Hilbert space representations are studied on the toroidal lattice ${\ee Z}_{D} \times {\ee Z}_{D}$ with specific emphasis on the deformed oscillator subalgebras and the generalized representations of the Wigner function. These subalgebras are shown to be admissible endowed with the non-negative norm of Hilbert space vectors. Hence, they provide the desired canonical basis for the algebraic formulation of the quantum phase problem. Certain equivalence classes in the space of labels are identified within each subalgebra, and connections with area-preserving canonical transformations are examined. The generalized representations of the Wigner function are examined in the finite-dimensional cyclic Schwinger basis. These representations are shown to conform to all fundamental conditions of the generalized phase space Wigner distribution. As a specific application of the Schwinger basis, the number-phase unitary operator pair in ${\ee Z}_{D} \times {\ee Z}_{D}$ is studied and, based on the admissibility of the underlying q-oscillator subalgebra, an {\it algebraic} approach to the unitary quantum phase operator is established. This being the focus of this work, connections with the Susskind-Glogower- Carruthers-Nieto phase operator formalism as well as standard action-angle Wigner function formalisms are examined in the infinite-period limit. The concept of continuously shifted Fock basis is introduced to facilitate the Fock space representations of the Wigner function.