Toronto Dominion Bank Kitchener

70 King Street East, Kitchener, ON.

 “Designed by TD’s in-house architect, Bruce Etherington, the bank takes the conventions of solidity and turns them toward a distinct and expressionist spirit.”

-Cathy Garrido and Steven Mannell, “Images of Progress 1946-1996:  Modern Architecture in Waterloo Region”

Located on Kitchener’s main street at a prominent downtown intersection, the two-storey, limestone building bristles with energy.  An excellent Ontario example of expressionism within the modern movement, the Toronto Dominion bank is associated with a period of urbanization and economic growth in Kitchener.  The building also has historical associations with the institution of the Toronto Dominion Bank, which was formed in 1955 in a merger between the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank. 

 In the mid-1950s, Toronto Dominion was fully committed to modern architecture.  Etherington directed the design of hundreds of new banks for the organization between the late-1950s and his departure to Hawaii in 1963.  As described by Garrido and Mannell:

“On both streets the facades inflect gently towards the midpoints, while the parapet line above changes inclination at each fold in the plan.  The high point of the parapet occurs at the street corner.  Windows are tall slots, running uninterrupted for two storeys, shielded by tapering metal ailerons (fins).  Taken together the effect is one of motion.”

Of banks that survive from the period, the King and Frederick branch is a particularly fine example.  Recognizing its heritage values, the City of Kitchener designated the Toronto Dominion Bank under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2008.

The building has since been rehabilitated as a restaurant.  While there has been considerable urban development in the district in recent decades, the former bank remains a familiar visual landmark.