Thursday, June 18, 2015

Look Up Look Down - Bank of Commerce

Although the Art-Deco Bank of Commerce building in Commerce Court is no longer the tallest structure in Toronto, it remains one of the most impressive buildings in the city and deserves recognition for its architectural excellence. Plans to erect it commenced in 1927, amid the optimism that dominated the Roaring Twenties. In that era, economic horizons appeared limitless, and the Bank of Commerce, as it was then called, wanted a headquarters that reflected its financial importance in the community.

From street level today.

The site of the bank tower, at 25 King Street West, was at the corner of King and Jordon Streets. The bank had occupied this site for many years. However, in the early days of the town of York, the first Methodist Church had been located there. The church was eventually to become Metropolitan United Church, at Queen Street East and Church Street.

Construction on the new bank building began on 19 June 1929. In the year construction commenced, the tallest structure in Toronto was the 120-metre Royal York Hotel, the largest hotel in the British Empire. New York City’s buildings surpassed those of its neighbour to the north, so in Canada, the word “tallest” was often applied within the context of the British Empire, to give the word significance. Toronto residents watched in fascination as the tower rose, until it reached its ultimate heights of 141 metres—34 storeys. When the structure was completed in January of 1931, it was the tallest building in the city and the tallest in the British Empire. It was to maintain this distinction until 1962.

 The top of the Bank of Commerce Building contains massive carved-stone heads gazing out across the city. The heads represent Courage, Observation, Foresight, and Enterprise.

I was lucky enough to have a meeting in the building across the street overlooking this stunning building.

 The view of the city nowadays from where I was.

The huge Banking Hall on the first floor of the building. It soars 6-storeys in height, its ceiling resembling a cathedral, although some believe that it was inspired by the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome.

This is open to the public during normal working hours. There are many works of art inside. I have to go back and get photos of them.

Some other marvels found on the outside of the building.


  1. Wow! That is astonishingly beautiful!

  2. Such great views from across the road! It really is a spectacular building.

  3. It is quite some building and rather puts its neighbours to shame.

  4. Great building, nice mix of Art Deco and classical architectural elements.

  5. Great architecture, and I especially enjoyed your views down.
    Doesn't in make meetings so much enjoyable when they are accompanied by a view!


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