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Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 3:24 AM
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Brick and Mortar of the North: Canada’s tallest, 1950

This is a companion thread to my list of the pre-war giants of the United States, and is in honor of the little festivities over in Vancouver. Unlike the U.S. list, this combines all the Canadian cities, so it’s dominated by Toronto and Montréal, who were neck-to-neck in population with Montréal slightly ahead (1,395,400 to 1,117,470 in 1951). Vancouver was third in population with 530,728 inhabitants.

The national population in 1950 was 13,712,000, and the Prime Minister was Louis St. Laurent of Quebec. His Liberal government saw Newfoundland join the Federation in 1949, and construction commenced on the Trans-Canada Highway in 1950. The St. Lawrence Seaway would begin four years later. The Governor General was Viscount (later Earl) Alexander of Tunis, representing HM George VI. The King was in increasingly frail health, and it was only a little over a year from the end of 1950 until the crown passed to his daughter, Elizabeth.

Feel free to point out any mistake, and if you're curious I'm south of the border.

The buildings:

1) Commerce Court North, Toronto, 145 m, 1931
This slender building would be Canada’s tallest until Place Ville-Marie was completed in Montréal in 1962

(sixty7architectureroad.com)

UC) St. Joseph's Oratory, Montréal, 129 m, not finished until 1967
Construction started in 1924, but the Oratory never was Montréal's tallest as Ville Place-Marie was completed four years earlier.

(imtl.org)

2) Royal York Hotel, Toronto, 124 m, 1929

(Wordpress)

3) Sun Life Building, Montréal, 122 m, 1931
The largest building by floor area in the Commonwealth at the time.

(imtl.org)

4) Tour de la Banque Royale, Montréal, 121 m, 1928

(Wikimedia)

UC) Bank of Nova Scotia Building, Toronto, 115 m, 1951

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)

5) Hotel Vancouver, 111 m, 1939
Now under the Fairmont brand; is in the Olympics SSP banner.

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)

6) City Hall, Toronto, 104 m, 1899
The modern City Hall was built in 1965.

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)


(gothereguide.com)

7) Marine Building, Vancouver, 98 m, 1930
Also in SSP’s Olympics banner.

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)


(track0.com)

8) Aldred Building, Montréal, 97 m, 1931

(citynoise.org)

9) Bell Building, Montréal, 96 m, 1929

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)

10) St. James Cathedral, Toronto, 93 m, 1809

(Wordpress)

11) Parliament, Ottawa, 92 m, completed 1927

(Canada-maps.org)

12) Basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec, 91 m, 1923

(hickerphoto.com)

13) Victoria Tower, Toronto, 88 m, 1927
Despite its national top ten position in 1950, today this building does not make the top 100 for Toronto.

(Emporis, sorry about the huge watermark)

14) Canada Life Building, Toronto, 87 m, 1931

(trailcanada.com)

15) Toronto Star Building, 87 m, 1929
Demolished in 1972 to make way for First Canadian Place

(Wikimedia)

16) Royal Bank Building, Vancouver, 85 m, 1937

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)

17) Sun Tower, Vancouver, 84 m, 1912

(Travelpod.com)

18) Édifice Price, Québec, 82 m, 1930

(quebechebdo.com)

19) Sterling Tower, Toronto, 82 m, 1928

(Wikimedia)

20) Château Frontenac, Québec, 80 m, 1924

(digitalpoptosis.com)

21) St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto, 79 m, 1848

(biocrawler.com)

22) Laurentian Hotel, Montréal, 78 m, 1948
Demolished in 1978, only thirty years after opening.

(Imageshack)

23) Victory Building, Toronto, 78 m, 1937

(Flickr)

24) Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, 75 m, 1935
On the photo’s left edge

(uhn.ca)

25) Manitoba Legislative Building, Winnipeg, 74 m, 1920
Tallest in the Prairie Provinces

(travelpod)

26) Royal Bank Building, Toronto, 72 m, 1915

(butlerme.com)

27) Église Saint-Pierre-Apôtre, Montréal, 72 m

(imtl.org)

28) Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon, 71 m, 1932
Tallest in Saskatchewan

(saskatoonlive.com)

29) Canada Permanent Trust Building, Toronto, 70 m, 1930

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)

30) Canada Building, Windsor, 70 m, 1928

(Wikimedia)

31) Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, Montréal, 70 m to tip of spire, 1886

(Flickr)

32) Christ Church Cathedral, Montréal, 70 m, 1859

(imtl.org)

33) Basilique Notre-Dame, Montréal, 70 m, 1829

(tripadvisor.com)


(sprawl.com)

34) St. Patrick's Basilica, Montréal, 69 m, 1847

(travelandtransitions.com)

35) Concourse Building, Toronto, 68 m, 1928

(Flickr)

36) Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver, 66 m, 1900

(Glass, Steel, and Stone)

37) Whitney Block, Toronto, 65 m, 1933

(topleftpixel.com)

38) Pigott Building, Hamilton, 64 m, 1929

(groundspeak.com)

A few more:
Alberta Legislative Building, Edmonton, 57 m, 1912
Tallest in Alberta

(Flickr)

Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary, 55 m, 1914
Tallest in Calgary

(booking.com)

Dominion Building, Vancouver, 53 ft, 1910
When completed the tallest building in the Commonwealth.
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Last edited by ChiSoxRox; Feb 19, 2010 at 6:12 PM. Reason: more pics
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 3:36 AM
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Some damn fine buildings there!
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 3:39 AM
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I would sell off a state to have the Marine and Sun Buildings in my country.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 4:26 AM
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Great list, would the Dominion Building in Vancouver not fall into this list as it was at one point the tallest building in the Commonwealth.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 4:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
Great list, would the Dominion Building in Vancouver not fall into this list as it was at one point the tallest building in the Commonwealth.
It's too short to make the top 25, but I'll stick it in the additional section.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 6:56 AM
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You're missing the 129 m Oratoire Saint-Joseph in Montreal, 104 m (old) City Hall in Toronto, 93 m St. James Cathedral in Toronto, 79 m St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto, 72 m Saint-Pierre-Apôtre Church in Montreal, 70 m Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, and 69 m Saint Patrick's Basilica in Montreal...perhaps more, but thats all I've seen so far from a brief check through Emporis, after noticing the absence of those first three.
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 2:15 PM
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Fixed.

I go by the diagrams here to make these lists and for some reason the diagrams push city halls and churches to the end, after all the highrises. Thus, I missed them. Edit: looks like "roof height" is a better sort than "official height."

Also, with the 1952 cutoff for the diagram St. Joseph's Oratory is left out as it wasn't finished until '67, and some of those churches (St. Michael's, Saint-Pierre-Apôtre, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick's) are not even in the diagrams. Hmm...

Thanks for the correction. I also missed another basilica in Québec. The old Hotel Vancouver would have made this list but it was demolished in the late 1940s.
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Last edited by ChiSoxRox; Feb 19, 2010 at 6:15 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2010, 4:10 AM
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Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton
built 1933
52 m (170.5 feet)

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Old Posted Feb 21, 2010, 5:06 AM
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edit...ah, sorry, i didnt catch the jist of this thread...these are the tallest buildings in canada in 1950?...anyways i'll leave my post for interests sake.


union bank tower in winnipeg (47.58 metres - 156 feet) boasted the highest flagpole in the british commonwealth when it was built in 1903....ive never heard it referd to as the tallest building in canada in 1903, but im not sure what was (discounting spire buildings)

it is currently being restored and turned into a student residence for the downtown college and will house a main floor cooking school with two restaurants.


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2662/...b1039bf1_b.jpg

Last edited by trueviking; Feb 21, 2010 at 5:25 AM.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2010, 5:37 AM
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Royal Connaught Hotel, Hamilton
built 1916
50 m (164 ft)



Connaught Corporate Centre, Hamilton
built 1931
52 m (170 ft)
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2010, 4:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trueviking View Post
edit...ah, sorry, i didnt catch the jist of this thread...these are the tallest buildings in canada in 1950?...anyways i'll leave my post for interests sake.

That's fine. I welcome posts like yours with shorter but just as interesting buildings, especially for the smaller cities.
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Old Posted Mar 15, 2011, 7:53 PM
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bump for a lovely thread.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2011, 6:43 PM
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Didn't realize how many well designed buildings and churches Canada had before 1950.
A lot theses buildings are amazing. Just wish they were still building structures like these.
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2011, 9:49 PM
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Nice list of good looking buildings.
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Old Posted Apr 20, 2011, 12:54 AM
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The tallest buildings between Ottawa and Winnipeg before 1950:

Whalen Building, Port Arthur (Thunder Bay).
Built in 1913. When it was finished, Port Arthur only had about 14,000 people, and the region only had about 30,000 people.


Royal Edward Arms Hotel, Fort William (Thunder Bay)
Built 1928. Fort William had a population of about 23,000 and the region had around 50,000. Members of the community all bought shares to have it constructed.


Not really a skyscraper, but if we're including churches, why not?

Grain Elevators of the Canadian Lakehead
Between 1910 and 1945
The largest were constructed in the late 1920s. At their peak, there were about 30 grain elevators lining our harbour. The one pictured below was the largest single grain elevator in the world for over 60 years, and with its twin is still the largest grain handing facility in the world. In terms of capacity, Thunder Bay still has the most grain storage capacity for a single location on Earth, even though more than half of the elevators have been demolished and half of those remaining are vacant or idle.

They're the tallest buildings in the city, equivalent to 20-25 storey buildings. This one isn't the tallest.


unknown source -- all the tall white buildings in the distance are grain elevators, and all of them were there before 1950.

Outside of Thunder Bay, there is the Windsor Park Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie:

Source

I don't know when it was built.
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Old Posted May 10, 2011, 1:06 PM
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Bump!

Wow I'm sorry I missed this thread, its great!

A few notes and observations.

The ssp diagram are an incomplete and at times unreliable source concerning canada's old skyscrapers.

For example, St James Cathedral in Toronto (aka Cathedral Church of St. James) was certainly not completed in 1809, relying wikipedia seems more reliable here, as it dates the completion date to 1853.

Also, there is a sad omission in the canadian diagrams, that of the Universite de Montreal Roger-Gaudry pavilion (the campus' main building). One of Canada's finest example of modern art deco, it is 92m tall and built in 1943. Whoever drew the diagram forgot to list this date, which explains why was omitted in this list...

Diagram here http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/?
Picture here: http://www.imtl.org/montreal/buildin...e-Montreal.php
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Old Posted May 10, 2011, 1:09 PM
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^indeed, one cannot omit that fantastic tower at UofM.
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Old Posted May 10, 2011, 1:13 PM
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^Hey man that tower's rad. My God-Mother actually was one of Cormier's last mistresses and he apparently told her that his actual intention when designing this tower was to build a giant penis. True story.
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Old Posted May 10, 2011, 1:16 PM
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Nice list! A great tribute to the classics!
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Old Posted May 10, 2011, 1:25 PM
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There is also an other Montreal Omission, the Architects Building, now demolished .

A 17 storey art deco tower built in downtown in 1932.

diagram here: http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/?

Again, I question the diagram's height, which lists the building at a mere 55 metres. I'd put it at 68 metres at least.


http://www.erudit.org/livre/lachapel...1d3_img01n.jpg


http://www.erudit.org/livre/lachapel...1d5_img28n.jpg



Here's one that is not even in the Montreal diagram section (no idea why); the historic Windsor station.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...n_Montreal.JPG

The station was built in 1888, the 15 storey tower was built in 1916. According to a book I own, its height is 226 feet (69m).
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