The building was one of the first modern skyscrapers in Canada and was, for a time, the tallest structure in the Commonwealth. The building’s enviable reputation made it the natural choice to store and protect massive holdings of the British government during the Second World War. The basement vaults were the secret hiding place of the Crown Jewels of England and the gold bullion of the Bank of England.
The Sun Life Building was finished in 1931 after three stages of construction, the first one starting as early as 1913. It measures 122 meters in height and counts 24 storeys. The Sun Life Building was at the time the largest building in terms of square footage anywhere in the British Empire.