Commerce Court West
199 Bay street Toronto, Ontario M5L 1L5
25 King street west Toronto, Ontario M5L 2A1
Coordinates 43.6481°N 79.3788°
Architect: Person & Darling - York & Sawyer
Owners: British Columbia Investment Management Corporation
The first building on the site was a wooden chapel for Wesleyan Methodist Church which opened in 1818 till 1831, it became Metropolitan United Church in 1872 the church moved into its new location on 56 Queen street east. Later In 1833 Theatre Royal moved into that location.
In 1877 Canadian Bank of Commerce first moved to the 25 King location in 1927. They demolished the 7 storey building and the new building completed & opened on January 13 1931, which was the tallest building in the empire up until 1962.
The architect firm Person & Darling as well as York & Sawyer designed the building in an architect style; it's designed in the style of Beaux-Arts jewel. The cost of the building was $8 million dollars. Construction started on October 29 1929, only a couple days before the stock market crash.
Commerce Court West is located in Toronto’s Financial District. When you walk up to the building, there are carvings along the arches of Mercury, the god of commerce, along with bees, squirrels and beavers, symbolizing industry, hard work and thrift. Represented the bank's mission statement Prudence, Commerce, Industry and Integrity was the Bank's Mission statement.
Inside the building is simply marvelous, the moldings are painted with 715 ounces of golden leaf, even the elevator doors are paved with gold, inside the bank room there are paintings of the old bank presidents, the ceiling's highest point is 65 feet inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
With 34 Floors it was the tallest building in the Empire, you used to be able to visit the observation deck, walk around the 16 giant heads that were looking upon the city. The observation deck was closed in 1970 for safety reasons. The CN Tower is now Toronto’s tallest observation deck & revolving restaurant.
The courtyard has one of my favorite statues: Tembo, Mother of Elephants by Derrick Stephan Hudson, It's of an Elephant and her 2 calves. Which represents strength & loyalty of Mother & children relationship. It looks as if the mother is leading her calf to the water fountain in the center of the courtyard. It was installed in 2005. It's casted in MST Bronze. The statue was donated by the L.L. Odette foundation.
If you are visiting Toronto, & would like to experience one of my personalized walking tours just send me an email or pick one tours from the walking tours page.
Here are my sources and some links to learn more.