Reaching new heights: 85 years since opening of Toronto's Commerce Court North
Toronto’s Commerce Court North is seen in this archival photo. (CIBC Archives)
Published Sunday, January 31, 2016 2:21PM EST
The Toronto skyline is dominated by dozens impressive skyscrapers, each with its own story. Sunday marks 85 years since the city skyline as we know it began to take shape.
On Jan. 31, 1931, the headquarters of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, now known as Commerce Court North, opened its doors as the tallest building in the British Commonwealth and Toronto’s first true skyscraper.
Prior to that day, the 28-storey Royal York Hotel, which opened in 1929, stood as the tallest building in the commonwealth.
Commerce Court North, located at Bay and King Streets, is now part of a series of office buildings in downtown Toronto. Today, its historical significance is often forgotten, as other buildings have since surpassed it in height.
The building’s stately, Art Deco design was the creation of Toronto architecture firm Pearson and Darling Architects. American firm York and Sawyer oversaw much of the building’s construction.
Now dwarfed by many of the buildings around it, Commerce Court North would hold onto its designation as the tallest building in the British Empire until 1962, when Montreal’s CIBC Building surpassed it.
Visitors can visit the historic structure as part of Doors Open Toronto, an annual event that gives people access to a variety of architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings across Toronto.
Photos from CIBC Archives