Canada Life Building in Toronto
The Canada Life Building is a historic office building in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The fifteen-floor Beaux Arts building was built by Sproatt & Rolph and stands at 285 ft, 321 ft including its weather beacon.
It is located at University and Queen Street in the city's downtown. Work on the new headquarters of the Canada Life Assurance Company began in 1929 and it opened in 1931. It was the fourth building to serve as the headquarters of Canada Life, Canada's oldest, and at the time largest, insurance company. Previously it had been housed in offices at Bay and King Street.
The Beaux Arts structure was the first of a series of planned structures along University Avenue, but the Great Depression halted these plans. When it was completed it was one of the tallest buildings in Toronto. It remains one of the largest office buildings in Toronto with windows that can be opened by its occupants.
The building is perhaps best known for its weather beacon, installed on August 9, 1951. The beacon flashes green for clear weather, red for cloudy, flashing red for rain, and white for snow. Lights affixed to the support tower indicate variations in temperature.
The beacon's colour-coded translations of weather information provide onlookers with "predictions at a glance". The information is updated four times daily, seven days a week, by Environment Canada's Weather Centre at Pearson International Airport.
The beacon was the first of its kind to appear in Canada and was built at a cost of CAD$25,000. The top of the beacon tower stands 321 ft above University Avenue and, upon completion, measured third only to the Royal York Hotel and the 476 ft, 34-storey Canadian Bank of Commerce Building (the tallest in the British Commonwealth until 1962) as the tallest edifice peak in Toronto.
Weather beacon signal codes
The beacon's weather codes are updated four times daily:
- Steady green = fair weather
- Steady red = cloudy skies
- White flashes = scattered flurries
- Red flashes = rain
- Lights running up = rising temperatures
- Lights running down = falling temperatures
- Steady lights = steady temperature
Canada Life Tower
Canada Life Tower is an addition to the building, built directly west of the original. It connects to the original building through an enclosed, elevated walkway; it totals 16 floors and was designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna. It was completed in 2005.
- Canada Life Building, Montreal