Commerce Court

Coordinates: 43°38′53″N 79°22′44″W / 43.6481°N 79.3788°W / 43.6481; -79.3788
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Commerce Court
Commerce Court's central plaza, surrounded by Commerce Court North (left), Commerce Court East (centre), and Commerce Court South (right)
Alternative namesCIBC Buildings
Commerce Court-North, -South, -East, -West
General information
TypeCommercial offices
LocationToronto, Ontario
Coordinates43°38′53″N 79°22′44″W / 43.6481°N 79.3788°W / 43.6481; -79.3788
CompletedNorth tower: 1931
Complex: 1972
OwnerBritish Columbia Investment Management Corporation
ManagementQuadReal Property Group
Antenna spire48 foot mast antenna on Commerce Court West
RoofWest tower: 239 m (784 ft)
North tower: 145 m (476 ft)
Top floor57 (West Tower)
Technical details
Floor countWest tower: 57
North tower: 34
East tower: 14
South tower: 5
Lifts/elevatorsWest tower: 31
North tower: 10
East tower: 8
Design and construction
Architect(s)York & Sawyer
Page + Steele Architects
I.M. Pei & Partners
Official name25 KING ST W

Commerce Court is an office building complex on King and Bay Streets in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The four-building complex is a mix of Art Deco, International, and early Modernism architectural styles. The office complex served as the corporate headquarters for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and its predecessor, the Canadian Bank of Commerce, from 1931 to 2021. Although CIBC relocated its headquarters to CIBC Square, the bank still maintains offices at Commerce Court.


The site initially housed Toronto's first Wesleyan Methodist Church, a small wooden chapel surrounded by woods (which later became the Metropolitan United Church) from 1818 to 1831, then as Theatre Royal from 1833 onwards.[7] From 1887 to 1927 it was home to a seven-storey head office of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, which was then demolished to make way for a new corporate headquarters, the building now called Commerce Court North.[8] The new 34-storey limestone building was the tallest in the British Empire/Commonwealth for roughly three decades, until 1962.

In 1961 the bank merged with the Imperial Bank to form the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and construction soon began to establish Commerce Court as its headquarters complex of buildings. The tallest, and the tallest in Toronto at the time, was Commerce Court West, completed in 1972.

On Wednesday, January 9, 2008, a portion of a CIBC sign at the top of the Commerce Court West building blew off as a result of wind gusts. Police cordoned off the area as a precaution. As a result, Bay St. from Front to Richmond and King St. from York to Yonge were shut down. Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) service was diverted.[9][10] This took place eight months after a piece of white marble panel fell from the 60th storey of the First Canadian Place building, and ten months after layers of ice fell from the CN Tower.

The CIBC sold the complex in April 2000, now managed by QuadReal Property Group, but the head office of the bank remains the anchor tenant. CIBC relocated its headquarters from Commerce Court to CIBC Square on 1 November 2021.[11] However, the bank intends to maintain a presence at Commerce Court.[12]


Commerce Court is a commercial complex made up of four structures, and a central courtyard. The complex is bounded by several major roadways, including Bay Street to the west, King Street West to the north, Yonge Street along its southeastern periphery, and Wellington Street West to the south. The structures are connected to the PATH network, a series of underground pedestrian tunnels that connect downtown Toronto.


Commerce Court North[edit]

The first building, now known as Commerce Court North, was opened in 1931 as the headquarters of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, a precursor bank to the current main tenant. The Canadian Bank of Commerce head office (now Commerce Court North) was designed by the American bank specialists York and Sawyer with the notable Canadian firm Darling and Pearson as the local architects of record. Structural engineering was provided by Harkness and Hertzberg.[13] At the time of its construction, the building was one of the most opulent corporate headquarters in Canada and featured a public observation deck (since closed to the public for safety and liability concerns). The building is protected under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act since 1991. [14]

The Art Deco-style building is made of limestone and features a one-ton chandelier with over 70 lights in the lobby. Along the roofline (32 stories up), are 4 bearded figures along each side of the building. Each head is 24 feet high, representing Courage, Observation, Foresight and Enterprise. [15]

Later buildings[edit]

In 1972, three other buildings were erected, thus creating the Commerce Court complex: glass and stainless steel glass curtain wall International Style Commerce Court West designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with Page and Steele.

Commerce Court West was the tallest building among the three later additions, at 57 storeys and 287 metres (942 ft) it was the tallest building in Canada from 1972 to 1976. Originally, Commerce Court West's 57th floor was an observation floor.

Commerce Court East (1972: 13 storeys) and Commerce Court South (5 storeys) are glass and applied masonry structures also designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with Page and Steele in 1972. In 1994, Zeidler Partnership Architects was commissioned to renovate the Commerce Court urban plaza, the banking area at the base of Commerce Court West, and the below-grade retail area. There are 65 retail shops in the plaza below the complex.

Technical details[edit]

Building Image Year completed Height Floors Address Architects Ref.
Commerce Court East 1972 56 metres (184 ft) 14 18 Wellington Street West Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with Page and Steele [16]
Commerce Court North 1931 145 metres (476 ft) 34 25 King Street West York and Sawyer [17]
Commerce Court South 22 metres (72 ft) 5 30 Wellington Street West Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with Page and Steele [18]
Commerce Court West 1972 287 metres (942 ft) 57 199 Bay Street Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with Page and Steele [19]

Central plaza[edit]

The complex features an outdoor central plaza with a fountain. Commerce Court East (centre) and Commerce Court South (right) are visible in the background.

Surrounding the Commerce Court complex of buildings is a plaza featuring a fountain in its centre, and a three-piece bronze sculpture by Derrick Stephan Hudson entitled, Tembo, Mother of Elephants completed in 2002. The sculptures were installed on site in 2005 on loan from the L.L. Odette Foundation of Windsor, Ontario.

In popular culture, the plaza was used as a stand-in for Wall Street in a pair of Kids in the Hall sketches featuring Mr. Tyzik, the Headcrusher.[20]


The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is a major tenant for the complex, with the bank having formerly housed its headquarters there. However, CIBC announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Commerce Court to CIBC Square in 2021.[11] However, the bank still maintains offices at the office complex.[12]

Other anchor tenants situated in Commerce Court includes B2B Bank, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Deutsche Bank, Guardian Capital Group, and Stikeman Elliott LLP. Other notable tenants of the building include the Canadian Bankers Association, Ricoh, and CIBC Wood Gundy, the latter tenant also being a subsidiary of CIBC.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Emporis building complex ID 104323". Emporis. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.
  2. ^ "Commerce Court North". SkyscraperPage.
  3. ^ "Commerce Court West". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ "Commerce Court East". SkyscraperPage.
  5. ^ Commerce Court North at Structurae
  6. ^ Commerce Court West at Structurae
  7. ^ First Methodist Church Historical Plaque. Retrieved on 2013-07-26. Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Historicist: The Tallest Building in the Commonwealth". Torontoist. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  9. ^ "Falling Sign Fix Lets Bay St. Re-open As Rest Of GTA Continues Wind-Blown Clean-Up". CityNews. 10 January 2008. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Toronto streets reopen after cleanup of fallen debris". CBC News. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  11. ^ a b "CIBC Annual Report 2021" (PDF). Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. 2022. p. 121. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  12. ^ a b Wright, Lisa (April 12, 2017). "CIBC to move head offices to new Bay Park Centre". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "Maj Gen C. S. L. Hertzberg, CB, MC, VD SAC 1899-1901". St. Andrews College. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  14. ^ "25 KING ST W". City of Toronto Heritage Register. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  15. ^ Toronto Financial District BIA (January 4, 2022). Here's a wonderful little history lesson about those bearded giants gazing down on our district! (video) (tweet). Toronto.
  16. ^ "Commerce Court East". Emporis Gmbh. 2020. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Commerce Court North". Emporis Gmbh. 2020. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Commerce Court South". Emporis Gmbh. 2020. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Commerce Court West". Emporis Gmbh. 2020. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Tembo, Mother of Elephants - Toronto, Ontario". 23 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.

External links[edit]