MP-0000.364 | Old and new Bank of Montreal buildings, City Bank, Montreal, QC, about 1860, copied 1928

Old and new Bank of Montreal buildings, City Bank, Montreal, QC, about 1860, copied 1928
Anonyme - Anonymous
1928, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Gelatin silver process
9 x 13 cm
Gift of Mrs. J. B. Learmont
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

In late 19th century Canada, railroads, government, and banking were all interconnected, and Scots-Canadians were prominent in all three. George Stephen was president of the Bank of Montreal from 1876 to 1881. The bank, founded in 1817, was Canada's first chartered bank, and Peter McGill, born in Creebridge, Scotland, was its principal director from 1819 to 1860. Until the Bank of Canada was founded in 1935, it served as the banker for the Canadian government. This interesting photograph shows the original bank building beside the new head office on St. James, now Saint-Jacques, Street, built in 1847 and altered and enlarged in 1867 and in 1901. This impressive building contains a museum that is open to the public.

  • What

    This photograph shows the original headquarters of the oldest bank in Canada, with the new headquarters beside it.

  • Where

    During the second half of the 19th century, St. James Street became the heart of Montreal's business district, and many headquarters of important banking houses settled on the street. It was Canada's Wall Street in its day.

  • When

    In 1859, just a year after this photograph was taken, the dome of the original building was torn down. Considered dangerous, the dome was replaced by an attic - a new storey smaller than the one underneath - which can be seen just behind the triangular pediment.

  • Who

    The new headquarters of the Bank of Montreal were designed by the British architect John Wells (1789-1864).