Toronto-Dominion Centre

Toronto-Dominion Centre

Infobox Skyscraper
building_name = Toronto-Dominion Centre

built = 1967-1969
use = Office
location = King and Wellington Streets
Toronto, Canada
roof = 223 m
top_floor =
antenna_spire =
floor_count = 56
floor_area =
coordinates = coord|43|38|52.50|N|79|22|51|W|region:CA-ON_type:landmark_scale:2500|display=title| elevator_count =
architect = Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, John B. Parkin and Associates, Bregman + Hamann Architects
skyscraperpage_id =

The Toronto-Dominion Centre is a large cluster of buildings in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is home to the Toronto-Dominion Bank, as well as many other businesses. 21,000 people work in the complex, making it the largest in Canada.

Frequently referred to as the TD Centre, it consists of six towers, covered in bronze-tinted glass and black painted steel. The complex was the inspiration of Allen Lambert (1911-2002), former President and Chairman of the Board of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, with Phyllis Lambert recommending Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the project architect.


Mies van der Rohe arranged the three structures on a granite plinth (a common tactic for most of his later urban projects), with the Banking Pavilion anchoring the site at the corner of King and Bay Streets. The Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower sat to the south on Wellington Street, and the Royal Trust tower closed off the northwest boundary. The buildings are confined to a rigid structural grid set out across the plinth's top, and each is offset to the one next to them by exactly one bay of the grid, allowing views to 'slide' open or closed as one moves through the site. On the north side, within the space created by the situation of the towers and pavilion, a large granite plaza provided a formal entry to the complex. In 2004 this courtyard was named Oscar Peterson Square. Blurring the distinction between interior and exterior, the granite surface of the plaza extends through the glass lobbies of the towers and through the Banking Pavilion. On the south, cornered by the Toronto-Dominion and Royal Trust Towers, was a large lawn. These were the first examples of public outdoor space within the urban core of Toronto.

At the opposite end of the site, the topmost accessible floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower was a large indoor observation platform, which, as the tower was the tallest in the city, allowed uninterrupted views of the then quickly developing city and of Lake Ontario to the south. One level below was a restaurant on the south side, and the Toronto-Dominion Bank corporate offices and boardroom on the north. The interiors of the corporate area were also designed by Mies van der Rohe, and included his signature broad planes of unadorned but rich wood panelling, freestanding cabinets as partitions, wood slab desks, and some of his furniture pieces including the Barcelona chair, Barcelona ottoman, and Brno chair. Within the main board room, at the northeast corner of the floor-plate, service areas are concealed within the wood panelled walls behind 'secret panels.' While the Toronto-Dominion corporate offices and boardroom exist in their original form today, and the restaurant and bar (though with different tenants and decor) is still in place, the observation platform has become leased office space.

The two-storey Banking Pavilion has a roof comprised of steel I-sections, each huge beam being supported on only one steel column at each end. However, these beams are arranged in a grid, creating a waffle-grid ceiling and a row of corresponding columns around the periphery. This allows for one vast, column-free space within. The structure was a further development of the Post Office pavilion of the Federal Centre in Chicago, which had less expressed columns and a second level balcony, and a precursor to the Neue Nationalgalerie completed in Berlin in 1968, which had a similar roof supported on only eight large steel columns. Smaller areas inside the Pavilion are cordoned off using counters and cabinets as partitions, all built with the typical rich materials of Mies' palette - marble, woods, and granite.

The newspaper The Globe and Mail stated about the Banking Pavilion:

The two-storey banking hall in the plaza is among the best spaces Mies ever made. As you are visiting the branch you will find yellow flowers in a fishbowl vase on the service counters just where Mies had put them. —"Globe and Mail", 4 November 2002.

Incorporated into the lower levels of the project is a large underground shopping mall. Fitted in the same black aluminum and travertine marble as the main lobbies above, this mall was the genesis of Toronto's PATH system, which now consists of 27 kilometres of underground shopping and passages. Also extending to this area was Mies van der Rohe's strict design sense. To maintain the clean-lined and ordered aesthetic of the environment, Mies stipulated, with the backing of Phyllis Lambert and Alan Lamport, that store fronts must consist only of the glass panels and black aluminum that he specified. Even signage was restricted to only white backlit letters within a black aluminum panel, and only in the specific font that Mies had designed for the TD Centre.

Joe Fafard's sculpture "The Pasture", created for the Centre, is one of the most notable public art works in Canada.


*Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower - 66 Wellington Street W Built in 1967 and stands at 56 floors. It was the first tower to be built in thecomplex by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bregman + Hamann Architects, John B. Parkin Associates.

*Royal Trust Tower - 77 King Street West Built in 1969 and stands at 46 floors. It was also built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bregman + Hamann Architects, John B. Parkin Associates.
**The Consulate-General of Japan in Toronto is in Suite 3300 []
*Canadian Pacific Tower - 100 Wellington Street WestBuilt in 1974 and stands at 32 floors. Formerly called the Commercial Union Tower, it was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

*TD Waterhouse Tower - 79 Wellington Street West Built in 1985 and stands at 36 floors. Formerly called Aetna Tower, IBM Tower and Maritime Life Tower. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Bregman + Hamann Architects.

*Ernst & Young Tower - 222 Bay Street Built in 1991 and stands at 31 floors. Designed by Bregman + Hamann Architects and Scott Tan de Bibiana. This build is somewhat of a deviation from Mies van der Rohe's original design. Incorporates the old Toronto Stock Exchange building - now the Design Exchange. That original Art Deco building, including the facade, is preserved within the base of the larger tower above.

*95 Wellington Street WestBuilt in 1986 and stands 22 floors. In 1998, 95 Wellington Street was purchased and incorporated into the Toronto-Dominion Centre, but is not coherent with the Mies van der Rohe aesthetic of the rest of the development.


The development of the Toronto-Dominion Centre required the demolition of an entire city block. Most notably, the former headquarters of the Bank of Toronto, constructed in 1913 at the corner of King and Bay Streets, was demolished in 1960, although many of the stone carvings and corinthian columns from its façade were preserved in Guildwood Park in Toronto. Further, the Rossin House Hotel, an establishment dating back to the 1850s and once Toronto's pre-eminent hotel, was also demolished to make way for the new complex.

The complex designed by Mies van der Rohe in consultation with the local Toronto firms of John B. Parkin and Associates and Bregman + Hamann Architects, originally consisted of two towers and the banking pavilion. Though the official opening was in 1967, the first structure to be completed was the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower in that year. At 222.8 metres tall, it was at the time the tallest building in Canada, and remains the fifth-largest building in Toronto. The completion of the Banking Pavilion and the Royal Trust Tower followed, the former in 1968 and the latter in 1969. It is stated that the original buildings of the Toronto-Dominion Centre are the finest corporate towers created by Mies van der Rohe as he died in 1969, before their completion, making them the last, and therefore most refined, of his development of this building type since the Seagram Building in New York City (completed 1958).

Renovations to the underground mall, beginning in the late 1990s, have caused some controversy within the Toronto architectural community as the building management, under pressure from their tenants who wish to have greater visibility to increase business, have let the strict design guidelines slip and more and more individual signage has appeared throughout the mall. As well, ceilings have been renovated from the original flat drywall planes with recessed pot-lights to coffered ceilings.

A 690-seat Famous Players movie theatre was originally included within the underground mall, but, though the space still exists, it was closed in 1978 due to it becoming too small and technologically out-of-date compared to newer theatres opening throughout the city. (See [ The Cinema At The Toronto Dominion Centre] )

The building made headlines around the world in 1993 when Garry Hoy, a 39-year-old lawyer, fell 24 floors to his death while demonstrating the strength of the windows to a group of visiting law students by charging into the glass.

The Toronto-Dominion Centre also participated in the annual Doors Open Toronto in May 2006, where visitors could get a guided tour of the upper board rooms and also inspect some of the art purchased by former chairman Allen Lambert.

A scaled-down version of the first tower's design was used for the TD Tower (South), built in Calgary in 1976.


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Another official site]
* [ Bregman + Hamann Architects]
* [ Ontario Plaques - Toronto-Dominion Centre]

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before=Commerce Court North
title=Tallest Building in Toronto
years=1967—1972 223m
after=Commerce Court West
succession box
before=Tour de la Bourse
title=Tallest Building in Canada
years=1967—1972 223m
after=Commerce Court West

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