Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
Commerce Court West 
199 Bay Street
Ontario M5L 1E9

I.M. Pei 1973 

This building was constructed for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The original main branch is located right next to it and is now known as Commerce Court North. Commerce Court West was considered to be the tallest office building in Toronto until the construction of First Canadian Place in 1975.

The building is part of several landmark structures that make up the financial district in Toronto. It is probably the simplest building in the area with a very open ground level comprised of glass walls almost 2 stories high. The building itself is set back from the street to create a platform in front of the entrance that maximizes public access. With the glass wall on the ground floor, the platform seems to extend all the way inside the building, creating continuity with the exterior features. The floors above have horizontal bands of glass alternating with bands of steel. 


If you walk down the financial district in Toronto during day, you will notice that most of the side walks and court yards are very shady due to the height of all the skyscrapers in the area. I.M. Pei's building brings a bit of light down to the street level, by reflecting the sun with its shiny glass and steel wall. On a clear sunny day, the building surface seems transparent with the reflection of the sky and surrounding buildings.

This building has won a several awards. In 1992, it won the Urban Design Award from The City of Toronto; in 1973, the First Prize for Unique Structural Design from New York Association of Consulting Engineers; and in 1973, the Design in Steel Award from the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Wilma Kwan 2003


How to visit

The court and building are located at the South West corner of King Street and Bay Street. The building can be accessed through the underground PATH system from the closest subway station which is the King Station located at the corner of King Street and Yonge Street. 

The underground PATH system is open for public but the office building is restricted to the occupants only.

Books and other web sites

Click the book title to view and to order direct from


I.M. Pei: A Profile in American Architecture
Carter Wiseman

Not cheap, but popular, well reviewed, and by the author of Shaping a Nation - a master at architectural writing that is both accessible and insightful.


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