History of the Event Venues of One King West Hotel & Residence

One King West Hotel & Residence Hotel & Residence, our downtown Toronto hotel, is proudly designated as an Ontario Heritage building. Experiencing our property in any capacity, whether it be as a hotel guest, or as a wedding or event attendee, means you get to step back into history as you walk through our doors. We’ve made great efforts to ensure that the historical elements and architecture of the building’s past is incorporated into today’s modern-day hotel and Toronto event venue.

One King West Hotel & Residence Exterior in 1914

Before 1 King Street West was known as the iconic downtown Toronto hotel in the heart of the city, The Dominion Bank held residency at this prestigious address. This history began in 1914 when premier architect, Frank Darling (Darling and Pearson), pioneered the way for the skyscrapers in Toronto and built The Dominion Bank at the corner of Yonge and King Streets.

One King West Hotel & Residence Exterior in 1914

When the plans were revealed in 1910, the city exploded in uproar of controversy with many critics arguing the proposed 13-story building would ruin the city’s skyline. Amidst the fuss, construction began on March 24th, 1913 and was completed on July 1st, 1914. Now a Heritage Building, The Dominion Bank is considered one of Toronto’s exquisite architectural landmarks and continues to be cherished by city residents and visitors.

Grand Banking Hall in 1914

While the purposes and uses of the building’s spaces may have transformed since 1914, much of the architecture and historical touches remain the same of this downtown Toronto hotel. Instead of housing the bank’s board of directors, or being considered the safest bank vault in Canada, these spaces are now some of the most unique and elegant event venues in Toronto today. The Grand Banking Hall, Austin Gallery, Chairman’s Boardroom and Vault are Toronto event venues that continue to provide a setting ideal for meetings, events and weddings of all sizes…

The Vault

The Vault – Then

At the base of our grand, marble lobby lives The Dominion Bank Vault from 1914. Before installation, the Vault was pulled 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 it doesn’t protect notes and coins any longer, it has been restored to its original prestige and today is considered one of Toronto’s most unique venue for meetings and events, and even played set for the films Jumper and Red.

The Vault – Now

This venue can accommodate up to 80 guests and is often used for corporate events, social gathering and photo shoots.

Chairman’s Boardroom

Chairman’s Boardroom – Then

Once considered the private domain of The Dominion Bank’s board of directors, Chairman’s Boardroom is ideal for smaller corporate planning sessions, off-site meetings or social gatherings. In 1914, this space was considered the most elaborately designed part of the bank. The doorways are delicately carved consoles supporting pediments; while in the center of one is an attractive fireplace. The ceiling consists of an intricate design after the Renaissance period, lending a striking effect to the tout ensemble.

Chairman’s Boardroom – Now

This venue featuring original oak panelling is found on the 12th floor of our downtown Toronto hotel can fit up to 60 guests.

Austin Gallery

Austin Gallery – Then

The Austin Gallery, named after The Dominion Bank’s founder, James Austin, is also located on the 12th floor of our Heritage property. This event venue in Toronto was previously the head office of the bank and in here is where all the business of the institution in relation to its branches took place. This space features a mezzanine gallery running around the large lofty room, some twenty-two feet high, ensuring a unique backdrop to corporate meetings or events in downtown Toronto.

Austin Gallery – Now*
*Note: Austin Gallery’s design has been updated as of 2019

The Austin Gallery has a capacity of around 180-245 guests and continues to be a popular event venue in the heart of the Financial District.

Grand Banking Hall

Grand Banking Hall – Then

Last but certainly not least, is the Grand Banking Hall, or what some might remember it as, ‘The Main Banking Room.’ This was considered the hub of The Dominion Bank and where day-to-day banking needs were done. Instead of walking to an ATM at any convenient corner of the city, people were required to deal face-to-face with bank tellers to complete their transactions. This venue in Toronto is an architectural masterpiece with its gold leaf coffered ceiling featuring the colourful emblems of Canada’s nine early Confederation provinces, stately Corinthian columns, and towering, light-drenched cathedral windows overlooking the corner of Yonge and King streets.

Grand Banking Hall – Now

The Grand Banking Hall accommodates up to 350 guests and has been the backdrop to an array of diverse events, including conferences, trade shows, networking events, corporate meetings and so much more.

For your next meeting or event, consider the historic and elegant venues of One King West Hotel & Residence to ensure a memorable experience. Fill-out the form below or contact our Sales Team at 416-548-8200 to discuss your event.