The Vault Door Opened at the Canada Life Building

GWL Realty Advisors was pleased to participate in Doors Open Toronto at the Canada Life building once again. Despite a rainy first day, we welcomed more than 3,000 visitors over the weekend. This year marked the 20th year of Doors Open Toronto, providing the public with the opportunity to visit more than 150 historically, culturally, and architecturally significant buildings across the Greater Toronto Area. 

For the first time ever, guests were invited to see the vault in the basement of the building. The vault proved to be a great new highlight as the guests enjoyed trying to push the 24-ton door and looking into the secured room behind the vault. Another new addition to the self-guided tour was the 15th floor boardroom where guests were able to witness 180-degree views of our city. From the room, they were are to see City Hall and the CN Tower.  

Visitors entering the Canada Life building
Entrance of the Canada Life building
Onlooking exploring the vault
The vault
View of Toronto
Views from 15th floor boardroom

Exterior shot of Canada Life building

Winning Photo

The rest of the self-guided tour included returning elements, such as the lobby, which features the Canada Life company’s original brass plaque embedded into the floor and the model of the weather beacon that sits atop the building, which is still used today to forecast daily weather. Also included was a video about the building’s history and  historic documents and images laid out throughout the building.  

We appreciated hearing personal connections to the building from our visitors who worked in the building in the 60s -70s or had connections through family and friends. A special guest was the great, great Grandson of Hugh C. Baker, founder of Canada Life.  

The rain proved to be a positive feat for the planting of a Community Garden beside the building. Our Garden Committee and their children gathered on the Saturday to plant over 27 varieties of flowers and herbs. These plants were specifically chosen to support the butterflies and the buildings’ local beehive, with an overall goal of providing a sense of community and friendship within the Campus. 

Another first for this year was the introduction of a photo contest. We received over 70 submissions consisting of interior or exterior pictures of the Canada Life building that showcased the building’s amazing architecture, incredible views, and rich history. Congratulations to our winner, @phomotif! 

Thank you to our dedicated volunteers who made the weekend such a success. We are proud to showcase this wonderfully historic building with the community and look forward to opening our doors again next year.