Old Banks Toronto

What banks used to look like in Toronto

What banks used to look like in Toronto surely sounds like the most boring idea for an archival photo post that I've come up with yet. When I floated the idea to my partner the other day, she responded by asking, "what, so you can show how they haven't changed?" That's what I would have thought, too — that is, before I dug around a bit in the Toronto Archives database. While some of the buildings featured below are still standing, not that many are still used as banks. Moreover, there's some fascinating photos of bank-anchored intersections that have been completely transformed in the last 40 years or so (e.g. Yonge and Bloor).

So, as was the case with gas stations and grocery stores, the point here is to take a familiar object and make it temporarily more interesting by revealing it in an unfamiliar context — i.e. the past. For it's not only the fact that many of these structures have been demolished or re-purposed that's fascinating, but also the way that one can track the different manner in which they've been built over the years. One could, for instance, easily identify the suburban banks depicted below even in the absence of a caption. And, it might even be fair to invoke that old cliche that "they don't build them like they used to" here. Even the smaller banks of the early 20th century were stately structures with architectural flourishes that showed off their social importance — those built today, not so much.

PHOTOS

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Bank of British North America at Yonge and Wellington (built 1845), 1856

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Bank of Montreal at Yonge and Front, 1900 (now the Hockey Hall of Fame)

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Dominion Bank at Yonge and King, 1903

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Dominion Bank at St. Clair and Vaughan, 1912

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Dominion Bank at Queen and Broadview, 1914

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Dominion Bank at Yonge and Cottingham (now just south of the rail overpass at Summerhill), 1914

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Bank of Nova Scotia at Bathurst and College, 1919

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Dominion Bank at Bathurst and Bloor, 1923

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Dominion Bank at Bloor and Sherbourne, 1923

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Imperial Bank at Bloor and Lansdown (northwest corner), 1931

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Barclays near King and Bay, 1940s

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Dominion Bank at Dovercourt and Davenport, 1947

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Bank of Montreal at 55 Bloor Street West, 1950

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Interior of unidentified bank in the 1950s

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Bank of Nova Scotia at Yonge and Dundas (notice the subway entrance being installed), 1952

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Toronto-Dominion Bank at Bathurst and Glencairn, 1956

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Imperial Bank on the Queensway, 1957

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Toronto-Dominion Bank on Islington, 1958

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CIBC on Avenue Road just south of Dupont, 1959

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Bank of Nova Scotia at Avenue Road and St. Clair (southwest corner), 1959

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Toronto-Dominion Bank at Avenue and Davenport, 1959

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CIBC at Yonge and Bloor (before the tower), 1960s

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Royal Bank at Yonge and Bloor (northeast corner), 1960s

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CIBC on Yonge north of Queen (now vacant), 1960s

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Bank of Nova Scotia at Bloor and Spadina, 1960s

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Bank of Montreal at St. Clair and O'Conner, 1960s

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CIBC at Adelaide and Victoria streets, 1960s

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The Vault at a Royal Bank, Ca. 1960s

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Toronto-Dominion Bank on Yonge north of Queen, 1970s

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CIBC (former Bank of British North America) at Yonge and Wellington, 1970s (thanks to Stephen Otto for the help in identifying this one)

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CIBC at Yonge and College (now a Starbucks), 1970s

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Royal Bank at Jane and Lawrence, 1971

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CIBC at Yonge and Finch, 1972

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Bank of Nova Scotia at Dupont and Spadina (now the subway entrance), 1974

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Scotiabank at Bloor and Spadina (looks similar today), 1976

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Royal Bank at Harbord and Spadina, 1979

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All photos from the Toronto Archives


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