355 KIng Street West
George Westinghouse’s most important invention is considered to be a high-tension alternating-current system for electric power transmission, which led to the production of electrical apparata by the Westinghouse Electric Company. That’s not something that the average person would know, but it lends to the rich history that remains at the corner of King Street West and Blue Jays Way.
George Westinghouse (1846-1914) patented over 400 inventions and organized more than 60 companies to produce them. Originally headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Westinghouse Company established a Canadian factory in Hamilton in the early twentieth century, along with a district sales office in Toronto to display, repair, and store its products. Two decades later, the Canadian Westinghouse Company acquired land on King Street West to build a larger district office and warehouse.
The Canadian Westinghouse Building was constructed in two phases. The lower three stories were built first, as a warehouse, in 1927. The upper three stories were added in 1934-35 to house the sales and service departments of the company’s Toronto district office. The building is distinguished by its complementary two-part design, restrained Classical detailing, and the rare application of terra cotta trim on brick surfaces, a combination rarely used in the City of Toronto.
The Canadian Westinghouse Building features a six-storey square plan, with large expanses of glass to allow for natural lighting. The grid of the internal steel-and- concrete structural skeleton is expressed on the exterior, and the materials and forms of the Canadian Westinghouse Building are trademarks of the type of tall commercial building that emerged in Chicago in the late 19th Century.