Financial District, Toronto

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Financial District
View of skyscrapers in the financial district from the CN Tower
View of skyscrapers in the financial district from the CN Tower

The Financial District is a business district in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was originally planned as New Town in 1796 as an extension of the Town of York (later the St. Lawrence Ward).[1] It is the main financial district in Toronto and is considered the heart of Canada's finance industry, it is bounded roughly by Queen Street West to the north, Yonge Street to the east, Front Street to the south, and University Avenue to the west, though many office towers in the downtown core are being constructed outside this area, which will extend the general boundaries. Examples of this trend are the Telus Harbour and RBC Centre.

It is the most densely built-up area of Toronto, home to banking companies, corporate headquarters, high-powered legal and accounting firms, insurance companies and stockbrokers; in turn, the presence of so many decision-makers has brought advertising agencies and marketing companies. The banks have built large office towers, much of whose space is leased to these companies.

The bank towers, and much else in Toronto's core, are connected by a system of underground walkways, known as PATH, which is lined with retail establishments making the area one of Toronto's most important shopping districts, the vast majority of these stores are only open during weekdays during the business day when the financial district is populated. During the evenings and weekends, the walkways remain open but the area is almost deserted and most of the stores are closed.

It is estimated 100,000 commuters enter and leave the financial district each working day. Transport links are centered on Union Station at the south end of the financial district, which is the hub of the GO Transit system that provides commuter rail and bus links to Toronto's suburbs.

Tallest buildings 140m+[edit]

Name Image Height
m / ft
Floors Year Category Notes
First Canadian Place Toronto - ON - First Canadian Place.jpg 298 / 978 72 1976 Commercial
  • Tallest building in Canada since 1976
  • 8th tallest building in the world at the time of its completion
  • Tallest building in the world outside Chicago and New York City at the time of its completion
  • Tallest building completed in Toronto in the 1970s
  • Formerly known as First Bank Tower[2][3]
Scotia Plaza Scotia Plaza 2009.JPG 275 / 902 68 1988 Commercial
  • Tallest building completed in Toronto in the 1980s[4][5]
Commerce Court Toronto - ON - Commerce Court West.jpg 239 / 784 57 1972 Commercial
Toronto-Dominion Centre TD Centre View from Yonge and King.JPG 223 / 731 56 1967 Commercial
  • Tallest building completed in Toronto in the 1960s[6][7]
Royal Bank Plaza Royal Bank Building.jpg 180 / 591 40 1979 Commercial [8][9]

Major skyscrapers and complexes in the financial district include:

Origins of Financial District[edit]

View of the Financial District from the CN Tower at night

The district's origins date back to the mid to late-19th century when a number of early banks had head offices located in Toronto. Most of these banks were regional and came and went, it was not until the second half of the 20th Century that the Big Five banks located their headquarters there.

Of the big banks, only CIBC and Toronto-Dominion Bank (including the banks existing before mergers) had full head offices in Toronto:

Business Improvement Area[edit]

The area is represented by the Toronto Financial District Business Improvement Area (BIA) that all commercial businesses in the area belong to. The organization engages in streetscape improvements, addressing key issues that impact the area, and promoting the area's businesses online.

Lost Historic Buildings[edit]

The construction of buildings in the district lead to the demolition of 19th and 20th Century buildings:

Diplomatic Missions and Trade agreements[edit]


  1. ^ Historical Atlas of Toronto, Derek Hayes, 2008, ISBN 978-1-55365-290-8, Pg 26
  2. ^ "First Bank Tower". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  3. ^ "First Canadian Place". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  4. ^ "Scotia Plaza". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  5. ^ "Scotia Plaza". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  6. ^ "Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  7. ^ "Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  8. ^ "Royal Bank Plaza". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Royal Bank Plaza". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 

External links[edit]