Commerce Court is an office building on King and Bay Streets in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The primary tenant is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) which has its headquarters in the building. The buildings are a mix of Art Deco, International, and early Modernism architectural styles.

Commerce Court
Toronto - ON - Commerce Court West.jpg
Commerce Court West in May 2009
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; -79.3788Coordinates: 43°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
ArchitectYork & Sawyer
Page + Steele Architects
I.M. Pei & Partners

1931 North TowerEdit

Commerce Court North circa 1930

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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).

Later buildingsEdit

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 to 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.[10][11] 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 plazaEdit

The British airship R100 flying over the Commerce Court North Building during its sole trans-Atlantic voyage in August 1930.

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.[12]


Anchor tenantsEdit

CIBC has announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Commerce Court to CIBC Square, beginning in 2020, in a move which will also consolidate staff from various other CIBC offices from the Toronto area. However, the bank intends to maintain a presence at Commerce Court.[13]

Other notable tenantsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Commerce Court at Emporis
  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. ^ "Maj Gen C. S. L. Hertzberg, CB, MC, VD SAC 1899-1901". St. Andrews College. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Toronto streets reopen after cleanup of fallen debris". CBC News. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Tembo, Mother of Elephants - Toronto, Ontario". 23 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  13. ^ Wright, Lisa (April 12, 2017). "CIBC to move head offices to new Bay Park Centre". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 12, 2017.

External linksEdit