One hundred years of history lives at One King West. This summer, we're excited to be celebrating the centennial date of our building's inaugural year, 1914. Before becoming a hospitality destination, the address of One King West was occupied by James Austin's prestigious Dominion Bank from 1914 to 2006. The southwest corner of King and Yonge has always been an anchor of economic, cultural and social activity. Whether outside on the corner, gazing up at the architectural triumph or within the celebrated lobby, you can feel Toronto history all around you.
In the early 19th Century, King Street quickly became the bustling artery of Toronto (then York). The parliament buildings once stood proudly at King and Berkeley, King and Frederick was the absolute commercial heart of Upper Canada and then in 1878, James Austin built the most impressive building in all of York: the first location of the Dominion Bank at One King West. After many successful years, a new, grander headquarters of the Dominion Bank was built atop the site and operated there for an impressive 126 years.
The team at One King West honour and appreciate the heritage site on which they exist. Acting as stewards of the past, the building's history has been respectfully maintained and celebrated. From preserving the building's original vault to keeping the provincial-detailed ceiling, One King West has thoughtfully fused elements from the past within a contemporary luxury hotel setting.
At the base of our grand, marble lobby lives the original Dominion Bank vault from 1914. Once considered the largest and most secure vault in Canada, it was a true technological feat for its time. Divided into two stories, the vault is approximately 33 feet square by 25 feet high and its the circular door is 4 ½ feet thick and weighs over 40 tons. Before its installation, the door was dragged up Yonge Street by 19 horses and 8 men, causing a huge stir; city newspapers followed the journey closely and many residents came to witness the spectacle.
While the vault doesn't protect notes and coins any longer, we've restored the space to its original prestige. It's used today for meetings, events, weddings and even played set for the films Jumper and Red.
Toronto's first luxury hotel, The American, opened on Front Street in the early 19th Century - famous guests include a visit from Charles Dickens in 1842. Since then, Toronto has grown into a global hospitality destination. Now with over 183 hotels, a part of Toronto's heartbeat and character can be defined by its hotels and the energy that they radiate.
One King West is no exception. Along with the city's other unique guesthouses, they each represent a letter on our skyline signature, like a beacon welcoming travellers and neighbours alike. One King West pioneered high-rise technology and vision in 1914. While the building has evolved over time, like the city, One King West still stands as an unmistakable and significant pillar of Toronto's history and skyline.