Confederate Life Building

Address:457 Main Street
Architects:J. Wilson Grey

More Information

Built for the Confederation Assurance Company, this graceful, curved building complements the Union Bank Tower in stature but represents the next generation of skyscrapers. The building’s mid-section, with its expansive windows relative to scant wall area, truthfully reflects its skeletal framework of steel and reinforced concrete. This, together with the building’s distinct horizontal division of base, repeating floors and elaborate cornice, makes it a good example of the Chicago School of architecture. With the exception of its polished granite base, the front of the building is clad entirely in a brilliant white terracotta. The lavish cornice, also made of terracotta, is the largest in the city and arguably one of the finest to be seen anywhere. These two skyscrapers form a gateway at Main Street and Market Avenue that was mirrored at Main Street and Higgins Avenue by two elegant hotels, the Royal Alexandra and the Savoy Hotel. This symmetry was disrupted with the demolition of both hotels.

Canada's Historic Places

Recognition and Awards

  • National Historic Site

Design Characteristics

  • The curved facade follows the shape of the road
  • Expansive windows
  • Elaborate cornice
  • Polished granite base
  • All the ornate detailing was done in white terracotta