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May 14, 1968

When Ontario Premier John Robarts cut the ribbon on the TD Centre, Toronto wasn’t yet a city of skyscrapers. The centre’s 56-storey tower and its shorter sibling would dominate the skyline for half a decade, and they were handsome interlopers. The main architect, the German-American Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, raised the modernist highrise to a lofty art, and this huge complex was no exception. It was a piece of art at every scale, from the grand granite plaza to the precise proportions of the matte-black steel I-beams and the grain of the English oak panelling in the bank’s boardrooms. In the next decade, Toronto would get a new crop of tall buildings, and Mies’s work gave them – and the city – a 20th century masterpiece to look up to.

Project records courtesy of B+H Architects (formerly Bregman+Hamann Architects) of the Toronto-Dominion Centre under construction, 1967. Photo courtesy of Panda Associates/B+H Architects

Toronto-Dominion Centre under construction, 1964. Photo courtesy Panda Collection/Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary

Project records courtesy of B+H Architects (formerly Bregman+Hamann Architects) of the Toronto-Dominion Centre under construction, 1967. Photo courtesy of Panda Associates/B+H Architects

The Toronto-Dominion Centre complex as seen in an aerial view from the northeast, May 1968. Photo by Ron Vickers

Project records courtesy of B+H Architects (formerly Bregman+Hamann Architects) of the Toronto-Dominion Centre under construction, 1967. Photo courtesy of Panda Associates/B+H Architects

The Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower takes shape as construction proceeds on the 56-storey skyscraper May 26, 1967. The striking black tower designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is already dwarfing surrounding buildings such as the Royal York Hotel (left). Photo by John Gillies/The Globe and Mail

The Toronto-Dominion Centre, 1974. Photo courtesy Panda Collection/Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary

A cheer, a wave and they're at the top - 740 feet above the ground. Rockets exploded over downtown Toronto April 14, 1966 after high-steel men secured the last beam on the 56th floor of the Commonwealth's tallest building, the first tower of the Toronto-Dominion Centre, with a gold-plated bolt. Photo by John McNeill/The Globe and Mail

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