Resilient Heritage Tower

he Sun Life building a resilient heritage tower dominated Montreal's downtown since 1931.


The Sun Life building a resilient heritage tower dominated Montreal’s downtown for long time until Place Ville Marie was built.

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The Sun Life building is a resilient heritage tower that dominated Montreal’s downtown for a long time until the more modern 47 story Place Ville Marie tower built in 1962 became the highest skyscraper.

The Sun Life Insurance company founded in 1865 by shrewd Irish immigrant Mathew Hamilton Gault, made it its headquarters in 1913 although the final configuration (whole) building was only completed in 1931.

This building is world famous because it was once the largest building in square footage anywhere in the British Empire however, in WW2 it was also the “secret stash” for Britain’s gold reserves and negotiable foreign securities secretly imported and hidden in its underground vault.

Fearing Hitler’s armies, the Brits decided Montreal, Canada to be a safe place for their loot, which the Royal Canadian Mounties guarded 24/7/365 until the end of war with few knowing the secret.

In 1978, the company downsized the Montreal operations to a branch office and shifted headquarters to Toronto, Ontario because management feared that the Separatist Party Québécois of Premier Rene Levesque would mess with their business after the Quebec Assembly passed the Bill 101 French Language Law.

Apparently, language played a big role for the company’s international operations and no political party was going to use political influence or threats to affect their bottom line.

In my picture, taken from Saint Catherine street, the famous old building is high-lighted by the bright sun reflecting off it.

This is my contribution for WP weekly photo challenge:”RESILIENT”.

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