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Visiting the Bank of Nova Scotia Building, 440 College Street, Toronto, Ontario: century elegance by Darling & Pearson

Updated on January 7, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Bank of Nova Scotia Building, 1913, 440 College Street, Toronto
Bank of Nova Scotia Building, 1913, 440 College Street, Toronto | Source
Bank of Nova Scotia Building, 1913, 440 College Street, Toronto, Ontario
Bank of Nova Scotia Building, 1913, 440 College Street, Toronto, Ontario | Source
Frank Darling
Frank Darling | Source
John A. Pearson
John A. Pearson | Source
Heritage plaque, Bank of Nova Building, 1913, 440 College Street, Toronto, Ontario
Heritage plaque, Bank of Nova Building, 1913, 440 College Street, Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

Dating from 1913; one of its architects also designed the Peace Tower, Ottawa

The celebrated architectural partnership Darling and Pearson (1) were responsible for this elegant bank building, built in Beaux-Arts style in 1913.

The building at 440 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, is very conspicuous with its white frontage, which includes a imposing, pillared and smoothly arched entrance..

Remarkably, the original client continues to use the building. The Bank of Nova Scotia — Scotiabank — has thus had a commanding presence at the intersection of College and Bathurst Streets in Toronto's Downtown for 100 years. When one considers just how much has changed in the tumultuous, intervening century, it is striking to consider the durability and continuity of both a building such as this and the venerable institution, a branch of which this building houses.

The Toronto Historical Board sponsored a plaque affixed to the frontage of this fine building in order to commemorate its heritage status, designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

This fine structure reminds me of the City Beautiful movement in the early 20th century, which was influential in seeing the creation of many elegant public buildings in the United States. An fine example of this is at the United States Post Office, Niagara Falls, New York (2), for which architects James Knox Taylor and Cass Gilbert were responsible.

One receives a sense that this fine edifice is the product of a gracious and even optimistic age, which, shortly after its appearance in 1913, was to be broken by the elemental conflagrations on the Western Front in Europe, resulting in sweeping and irrevocable changes in Canada.

January 8, 2013


(1) Other works by Architect Frank Darling (1850-1923) include what is now the Hockey Hall of Fame in what was the Bank of Montreal Building at the intersection of the City's Front and Yonge Streets; he was was a Toronto architect who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries including in partnership with Architect John Pearson (1867-1940), who designed the Peace Tower at the Parliament Buildings, Ottawa. Darling and Pearson also collaborated on Flavelle House, now the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law building, and Convocation Hall, also at the University of Toronto. Separately or together, Frank Darling and John Pearson were responsible for many famous buildings across Canada.

(2) Located at Main and Walnut Streets, Niagara Falls, New York

Also worth seeing

In Toronto itself, a small and arbitrary selection of sights include: Old City Hall, the Royal York Hotel,Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building at Queen's Park, and many others.


How to get there: Porter Airlines, flies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, with wide North American connections. Car rental is available at Union Station. Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. TTC Streetcar 506 stops at College and Bathust. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


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