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Commerce Court West in May 2009
|Alternative names||CIBC Buildings
Commerce Court-North, -South, -East, -West
|Completed||North tower: 1931
|Owner||British Columbia Investment Management Corporation|
|Management||GWL Realty Advisors Incorporated|
|Antenna spire||48 foot mast antenna on Commerce Court West|
|Roof||West tower: 239 m (784 ft)
North tower: 145 m (476 ft)
|Top floor||57 (West Tower)|
|Floor count||West tower: 57
North tower: 34
East tower: 14
South tower: 5
|Lifts/elevators||West tower: 31
North tower: 10
East tower: 8
|Design and construction|
|Architect||York & Sawyer
Page + Steele Architects
I.M. Pei & Partners
Commerce Court is a complex of four office buildings on King and Bay Streets in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The primary tenant is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). The buildings are a mix of Art Deco, International, and early Modernism architectural styles.
1931 North Tower
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 building was the site of Toronto's first Wesleyan Methodist Church, a small wood chapel surrounded by woods (which later became the Metropolitan United Church) from 1818 to 1831, then as Theatre Royal from 1833 onwards. From 1887 to 1927 it was home to a seven storey head office of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, which was demolished to make way for Commerce Court North.
The Canadian Bank of Commerce head office (now Commerce Court North) was designed by the Canadian firm Pearson and Darling with the American bank specialists York and Sawyer as consulting architects. Structural engineering was provided by Harkness and Hertzberg. The 34-storey limestone clad tower was the tallest building in the British Empire/Commonwealth for roughly three decades, until 1962. 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).
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 (the tallest building in the complex, at 57 storeys, and the tallest building in Canada from 1972–1976), Originally, Commerce Court West 57 was an observation floor. Commerce Court East (1972: 13 storeys) and Commerce Court South (5 storeys) are glass and applied masonry structures also 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 retails shops in the plaza below the complex.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce sold the complex in April, 2000, now managed by GWL Realty Advisors, but the head office of the bank remains the anchor tenant.
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. 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.
Commerce Court plaza
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.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
- Barrick Gold
- Deloitte & Touche LLP
- Deutsche Bank
- Guardian Capital Group
- Stikeman Elliott LLP
Other notable tenants
- List of tallest buildings in Toronto
- List of tallest buildings in Canada
- Tour CIBC
- Old Canadian Bank of Commerce Building, Montreal
- Commerce Place I and Commerce Place II in Hamilton, Ontario
- Commerce Court at Emporis
- Commerce Court North at SkyscraperPage
- Commerce Court West at SkyscraperPage
- Commerce Court East at SkyscraperPage
- Commerce Court North at Structurae
- Commerce Court West at Structurae
- First Methodist Church Historical Plaque. Torontohistory.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-26. Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Historicist: The Tallest Building in the Commonwealth". Torontoist. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- "Maj Gen C. S. L. Hertzberg, CB, MC, VD SAC 1899-1901". St. Andrews College.
- "Falling Sign Fix Lets Bay St. Re-open As Rest Of GTA Continues Wind-Blown Clean-Up". CityNews. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Toronto streets reopen after cleanup of fallen debris". CBC News. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- "Tembo, Mother of Elephants - Toronto, Ontario". Waymarking.com. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
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