f1244_it3181[1]   1930

The Bank of Commerce in 1930, the tallest building in the British Empire when it was completed in 1929. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, S 1257, S 1007, item 0409.

The CIBC recently opened the observation deck on the 32th floor of the Bank of Commerce (now the CIBC) on King Street West for a one-time private viewing. Closed for the past fifty years, it was opened to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Bank of Commerce, one of the founding banks of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. It was was also to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Due to safety concerns, it is not practical to permit the observation deck to be open to the general public. Besides, the view is not as spectacular as when it was in 1929, as the building is hemmed in by tall skyscrapers. However, the view is still magnificent. I found it amazing to view the sculptures on the 32th floor from a close-up perspective.

Completed in 1929, the former Bank of Commerce is one of Toronto’s finest Art Deco structures. Its banking hall remains impressive, despite the passing of the many decades since it opened.

To view a pictorial history of the bank: https://tayloronhistory.com/2013/02/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-of-commerce-cibc-on-king-street/

Photos taken on May 11, 2017 commemorating the 150th anniversary of the bank.


The chandelier in the banking hall was lowered for the 150th anniversary of the founding of the bank, allowing a close-up view .


The richly ornamented chandelier in the banking hall, its bottom tier containing the caduceus, the symbol of the Bank of Commerce.

                    220px-Johann_Froben's_printer's_symbol[1]   DSCN1829

The caduceus is the traditional symbol of Hermes and features two snakes winding around a staff, often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine. In Greek mythology, it was a symbol of commerce and negotiation, a natural representation for The Bank of Commerce.

DSCN1816   DSCN1821

(Left-hand photo) the northeast corner of the bank when it was under construction in 1927-1929, and (right), people on the observation deck c. 1930.


Gazing south toward the Toronto Islands from the observation deck in May 2017.


                                        Sculpted stone face that gazes east.


   Gazing west along King Street. In North America, only New York City has more skyscrapers than Toronto.


Looking east, Adelaide Street East on the left-hand side, and in the foreground the tower and spire of St. James Cathedral.


The north facade of the 58-storey L-Tower at I Front Street East, architect  Daniel Libeskind.


                              The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.                  


       The building that houses Sleep Country, on the northeast corner of King and Yonge (8 King Street East)


          The Art Deco designed foyer that leads to the observation deck.


Glimpse of the northeast corner of Union Station between the towering skyscrapers. 

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.com/

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:


Books by the Blog’s Author

Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


   To place an order for this book, published by History Press:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in most book stores such as Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox and AGO Book Shop. It can also be ordered by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)


Another book on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It explores 81 theatres and contains over 125 archival photographs, with interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating histories. Note: an article on this book was published in Toronto Life Magazine, October 2016 issue.

For a link to the article published by Toronto Life Magazine: torontolife.com/…/photos-old-cinemas-dougtaylortoronto-local-movie-theatres-of-y…

The book is available at local book stores throughout Toronto or for a link to order this book: https://www.dundurn.com/books/Torontos-Local-Movie-Theatres-Yesteryear

                        Toronto: Then and Now®

Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. It contains archival and modern photos that allow readers to compare scenes and discover how they have changed over the decades. 

Note: a review of this book was published in Spacing Magazine, October 2016. For a link to this review:


For further information on ordering this book, follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or contact the publisher directly by the link below:



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