Sun Life Building, Montreal, Canada

Darling & Pearson
Date Built
1914 to 1931
Metcalfe Street and René-Lévesque Boulevard
Apparently, when this monumental building was completed in 1931 it was the largest, in terms of square footage, anywhere in the British Empire.  It was constructed in three stages.  The cornerstone was laid in 1914 and the first stage was completed in 1918. The construction culminated in the addition of the 24-storey tower in 1931.  The building’s website explains that, “The building consists of a steel framework with exterior walls of Stanstead granite backed by brick and faced with terracotta. Terracotta tile construction was used extensively, in the form of a flat arch construction for the floor system as well as in the construction of all interior partitions.  The impressive Banking Hall employed very noble materials; Italian rose Tavernelle marble on the walls, Levanto marble on the counters, Syenite stone on the large Corinthian columns, black Belgian marble for column and wall bases, pink Tennessee marble on the floor, brass on all doors, railings and grills and gilded ornaments on the ceiling panelling of the mezzanine and on the terracotta capitals of the large columns.”

“Among some of the more notable features and services in the building:
3 basement levels in the new tower structure
cafeteria on the entire 6th floor able to accommodate 2500 people per sitting
an officers’ dining room and main boardroom on the 7th floor
a medical centre (hospital) on the 8th floor, complete with access to a roof terrace
a bowling alley on the 10th floor
a shooting range on floor 16A
a gymnasium on the 7th floor
pool rooms in the basement and 7th floor
porters on the passenger elevators
11-foot high ceilings”

In 2001, Sun Life Assurances sold 50% of the Sun Life Building property to S.I.T.Q. National, a solely held subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt du Québec.

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