1931 – Canada Life, Toronto, Ontario

Architect: Sproatt & Rolph



Originally designed to be taller, but the Great Depression ended those plans, the Canada Life building is a fine structure in a stripped down classicism. In 1950, the insurance company’s chief executive officer visited New York City and quickly became enamoured with the beacons reporting the status of the weather. He returned to Toronto and had one installed atop his own. For decades, the Globe and Mail used the becon as an icon for its weather page, and published a guide to what the various lights indicated. If the beacon’s top glows red, snow is imminent. The pattern of falling and rising lights match the barometric pressure.