Commerce Court North

Toronto, ON

Vertical Access was retained by K.I.B. Building Restoration (KIB) to perform a hands-on investigation of the north, west and east elevations of Commerce Court North, and to document existing conditions to help KIB and Halsall Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. prioritize repairs for an upcoming project planned for these elevations.

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Building description

The building now known as Commerce Court North was designed by the Canadian architectural firm Pearson and Darling and the US-based bank design firm of York and Sawyer. The renaissance revival building, originally built as headquarters for the Canadian Bank of Commerce, was completed in 1931 and at 34 stories was the tallest building in Canada until 1962.

The building consists of an Art Deco setback tower atop a seven-story rectangular base. The transitional masonry construction features a steel frame surrounded by a brick masonry backup wall and limestone cladding. Carvings of Mercury, the god of commerce, along with bees, squirrels and beavers, symbolizing industry, hard work and thrift, are among the many images surrounding the soaring main entrance. Also notable are the building’s ornate, barrel-vaulted banking hall and the eight bearded faces comprising arched buttresses at the 32nd floor of the exterior.

Challenges

  • Perform hands-on survey of exterior façades with minimal impact on building tenants and public.
  • Provide detailed documentation of existing conditions to assist project team with prioritizing and preparing repair documents.

Solutions

  • Used industrial rope access to gain hands-on access to all areas of the north, west and east façades.
  • Documented notable and representative conditions using digital photographs linked to annotated AutoCAD drawings.

Building owner

  • British Columbia Investment Management Corporation

In collaboration with

  • K.I.B. Building Restoration
  • Halsall | Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.
  • GWI Realty Advisors