Toronto’s architectural gems—the Postal Delivery Building, now the ACC


Toronto’s main Postal Delivery Building at 40 Bay Street, now the site of the Air Canada centre (ACC). In the background is the 34-storey Bank of Commerce Building (now the CIBC) on King Street West. When this photo was taken in 1944, the bank building was the tallest structure in the British Empire.


This photo, from the mid-1940s, shows the Postal Delivery Building, the impressive Royal York Hotel in the background. Union Station is located between the Postal Delivery Building and the Hotel. There is no Gardiner Expressway, and the space on the south side of the postal building has not been built upon.

Toronto expanded greatly during the prosperous years of the 1920s, and the needs of its postal services increased proportionately. Despite the Depression that commenced in 1929, in the late-1930s, the Federal Government realized that a new building was required to fulfill the needs of the city’s postal services. It was decided to locate it at the foot of Bay Street, near the Lakeshore Boulevard. A tunnel was to connect it to Union Station to permit mail that arrived by train to be transferred directly to the new sorting and distribution terminal. Charles B. Dolphin (1888-1968) was hired to design the structure. Dolphin was born in England, but had immigrated to Canada in 1920. He was the chief draftsman for Union Station, the Royal York Hotel, and Maple Leaf Gardens.

Charles Dolphin chose a combination of styles—Art Deco and Art Moderne. However, the building was more heavily influenced by Art Moderne. It contained smooth horizontal lines with rounded corners, which included large wrap-around windows. In the centre portions of the south and east facades were tall vertical windows, framed by pink granite pilasters. Construction began in 1939, employing concrete and steel, the cladding being Queenston limestone. The plinth (base of the building) was of black granite.

The building was completed in 1941, and was one of the handsomest structures in the city. It was truly a work of art. One of the most impressive features of the building was the 13-part series of carvings around its base. They were created by  stone-carver Louis Temporale Sr. (1904-1994), one of Canada’s preeminent stone carvers, who received the Order of Canada for his work. His carvings on the Postal Delivery Building depicted the history of communication and transportation in Canada.  The carved limestone panels were on the facades that faced Bay Street and the Lakeshore Boulevard.

However, due to the war effort, control of the building was transferred to the Department of National Defense, to be used for storage purposes. It remained under its control until 1946, when it was returned to the the postal system. It functioned as the city’s main postal terminal until the end of the 1990s, when the postal services were relocated to a larger facility in Mississauga. The building was empty until 1994, when the site was purchased for the home for the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club. They demolished the interior of the building, but agreed to maintain the east and south facades containing the carved stone panels.

Today, the three storey building is squeezed between the Gardiner Expressway, the Lakeshore Blvd. to the south, and the railway lines to the north. The carved panels are now corroded by road salt and air pollution. Renamed the Air Canada Centre (the ACC), it is the home of the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.


                The east facade of the ACC today, facing Bay Street.


The south facade of the ACC, the Gardiner Expressway occupying the site where the open grassy space was one located. The rounded corner with the wrap-around windows are clearly visible.

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The southeast corner of the ACC, with the rounded carved-stone panels depicting ships.


Another of the rounded corners with a stone panel, above the black granite base of the building.


The interior of the entrance to the ACC, the north wall of the old Postal Delivery Building on the left-hand side.


                    The east facade of the ACC, framed by the Gardiner Expressway.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about Toronto’s architectural gems:

The impressive Bank of Nova Scotia Tower at Bay and King Streets

The Runnymede Library in the Bloor West Village

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

A study of Osgoode Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.


Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

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