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Bank of Toronto Building

630 Yates Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/07/10

Exterior view of the Bank of Toronto Building, 2006; City of Victoria, 2006
View from the southwest
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Other Name(s)

Starfish Glassworks
Bank of Toronto Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1949/01/01 to 1951/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/10/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bank of Toronto Building is a two-storey plus basement, stone-clad structure located at the intersection of Broad and Yates Streets in downtown Victoria. The building is distinguished by its simplified, smooth exterior and large corporate emblem above the chamfered corner entrance.

Heritage Value

Built as the Bank of Toronto's Victoria headquarters, the value of this building is associated with its progressive architecture which was commonly commissioned by banking institutions in the postwar era. Seeking to portray itself as progressive through its architecture but cautious in its approach, this early example of Modernism in Victoria is stripped of all classical references. The simplified detailing is countered by the rich quality of the materials including the stone cladding. The corner entrance is a traditional banking-hall feature, topped by the Bank of Toronto's corporate emblem. The small size of this structure, its chamfered corner and its horizontal proportions all contribute to the low-scale pedestrian ambience of Broad Street.

Completed in 1951, the Bank of Toronto Building was one of the last commissions undertaken by architect William F. Gardiner (1884-1951). Vancouver-based Gardiner is remembered for his successful commercial and institutional practice, with a corporate clientele including banks, insurance companies and automobile service station companies. Gardiner consistently provided restrained modernist designs for his corporate clients.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bank of Toronto Building include its:
- corner lot location, built to its front property lines, small in scale in keeping with other buildings along Broad Street
- commercial form, scale and massing as expressed by its low, cubic massing with chamfered entrance and flat roof
- masonry construction, including: reinforced concrete structure; honed Haddington Island andesite cladding; and black, polished granite foundation and window and door surrounds
- low relief Bank of Toronto emblem which reads "Industry, Intelligence, Integrity"
- original window proportions and components of polished aluminum-sash, with awning style operable sash
- interior features including an entrance vestibule with polished marble-clad walls and travertine flooring, and interior stepped cornice



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

William Frederick Gardiner



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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