Toronto’s architectural gems—the bank at Queen West and Simcoe Streets


This photo of the CIBC on the northwest corner of Simcoe and Queen Street West was taken on August 23, 1931. On the west side of the bank is a parking lot. Today, the lot is much larger as several of the shops to the west of the parking lot were demolished to create more parking space. Photo is from the City of Toronto Archives.

The impressive building was completed in 1930, a year after the great Wall Street crash. However, the designs for it were created prior to the economic crisis, its restrained but rich architecture a testament to the prosperous decade of the 1920s.  It was constructed on the site of the Harris Hotel, an unpretentious hostelry that was demolished to provide a site for the bank. The classical proportions and basic design of the bank resemble a Greek temple. It possesses classical ornamentations and two large Doric columns on either side of the entrance. The north façade, facing Queen Street, and the west side are constructed of limestone. The west facade and the rear of the building are of yellow bricks, with limestone quoins on the northwest corner.

This bank was built in an era in which architecture was employed to convey a pre-determined image to the public. In this case, it was to imply that the institution within was solid, trustworthy, and a safe place to deposit your savings or transact business.


The bank as it appears today, showing the cornice trim at the top and designs above the entrance.


Cornice of the building and the ornamentations above the doorway. The latter contain the Greek key design as well as ornate medallions.

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The Doric columns on either side of the entrance of the bank.


The yellow-brick, west facade of the bank. The parking lot to the west of the bank is soon to become the site of a condominium. The cornice at the top of the building is of copper, with designs on the north side jutting up at either end and in the central position.


The north and east facades of the bank, both faced with limestone.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

The cenotaph at Old City Hall

The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King east and Church Streets

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

The historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

The Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

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.

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

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

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