Old Toronto Post Office / Old Bank of Canada National Historic Site of Canada
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency
10 Toronto Street, Toronto, Ontario
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1851 to 1853
1856 to 1856
1869 to 1869
1902 to 1902
1937 to 1937
Event, Person, Organization:
Cumberland and Storm
Metcalfe, Forbes and Wilson
Old Toronto Post Office / Old Bank of Canada
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: Wall of building facing Toronto St. 10 Toronto Street, Toronto, Ontario
Built 1851-1853 for the Province of Canada, the Seventh Post Office was designed by Toronto architects Frederic Cumberland and Thomas Ridout. The building, in the then popular Neo-classical style, resembles a Greek temple. The elegant symmetry of the Ionic columns, corner piers and the entablature topped with Royal Arms of England demonstrates an ease with classical forms. The building served as a post office until 1937. It was then sold to the Bank of Canada and later purchased and refurbished by Argus Corporation Limited.
Description of Historic Place
The Old Toronto Post Office/Old Bank of Canada is a mid-19th-century, three-storey, stone building constructed in the Greek Revival style. It is located on the west side of Toronto Street between King and Adelaide streets in downtown Toronto. The formal recognition consists of the building on the legal property on which it sat at the time of recognition.
The Old Toronto Post Office/Old Bank of Canada was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1958 because it is a fine example of Greek Revival style architecture.
The building was designed by prominent Toronto architects Frederick Cumberland and William Storm, who were responsible for the design of several other mid-19th-century Toronto buildings in various revival styles.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1958; Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Plaque Text, 1987.
Key elements which contribute to the heritage value of the Old Toronto Post Office/Old Bank of Canada are: its adherence to the Greek Revival style, evident in the building’s proportions, rectangular massing, symmetry, detailing and stone-work; its three-storey arrangement, elegantly achieving the simulated effect of structural columns and pilasters carrying a structural entablature; the handsome Greek Revival details of its façade, including: four, engaged Ionic columns two storeys in height with spiral capitals; a heavy entablature masking the third storey; two flat pilasters articulating the ends of the façade; the fine, dentiled entablature running above the ground-floor window line; the second-storey window surrounds, with architraves, pilasters and entablatures; the fan window and curved consoles of the main entrance; its finely crafted ashlar masonry; the figures and shield from the Coat of Arms of Canada that cap the entablature and testify to the building’s original function as a federal post office; the urban nature of its siting, close-up to the street.