VIEW-2727.0 | Bank of Montreal, Calgary, AB, about 1890

Bank of Montreal, Calgary, AB, about 1890
Wm. Notman & Son
1885-1915, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , commercial (1771) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

This building is interesting for what it represents: the solid power of the financial system on the Canadian prairies. The Bank of Montreal, founded in 1817, was Canada's first chartered bank. It played an important part in the settlement of the Prairies, especially in financing the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It served as Canada's central bank until that role was taken over by the Bank of Canada in 1935. This solid branch, located in Calgary, Alberta, was designed to reassure investors, and perhaps to make borrowers feel humble. Looking at it, it is hard to believe that only 15 years before this picture was taken, the whole city was nothing but grassland.

  • What

    This branch of the Bank of Montreal is impressive in its solidity.

  • Where

    The bank is on the main street of Calgary, Alberta.

  • When

    The building was new when photographed around 1890.

  • Who

    The bankers who worked in this building held great power over the prairie farmers. They held farm mortgages and could make or refuse to make loans.