Commerce Court, in partnership with Heritage Toronto, provided architectural walking tours at lunch-time, every Tuesday for the months of July and August as part of their Culture, Activities and Music Program (Summer CAMP Series). These tours provided attendees with history and fun facts about the Financial District, and its past and present tenants.
Dominion Bank Headquarters – Yonge & King
Dominion Bank was established in 1871, and by 1872 the bank had two branches in Toronto. It became the first Canadian bank to have two branches located in the same city. Because of its quick rise to a prominent financial institution, the Dominion Bank opened its headquarters at the corner of King and Yonge in 1879.
That building lasted until 1913, when it was demolished to make way for a new 12-storey ‘skyscraper’.
Before they started building, construction crews dug a large hole in the property so they could insert the 40-tonne, two storey steel vault.
Eight men driving 18 horses hauled the vault up Yonge Street from the waterfront docks, where it was delivered.
In 1955 this building was repurposed and redeveloped, and in 2006 a 51-storey hotel and residence was opened up in this space.
Bank of Toronto – King & Bay
The Bank of Toronto was established in 1855, and their very first branch was on Church Street (just north of King Street W). The bank was quickly outgrowing its location and begun buying property at the corner of King and Bay in 1902. By 1911 work on a new bank headquarters had begun. The building, inspired by the French Renaissance style of architecture, was finished in 1913.
In 1955 the Bank of Toronto merged with the Dominion Bank and this building became the headquarters of the Toronto Dominion Bank.
The two tallest buildings in today’s TD Centre are the 56-storey TD Bank Tower on Wellington Street (1967) and the 46-storey North Tower, built closer to King Street (1969). These two towers, designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, replaced the 1913 building.
Thank you to Richard Fiennes-Clinton, tour leader for Muddy York Walking Tours for providing us with material from the tours!