VIEW-809.1 | Bank of Montreal, Montreal, QC, 1878-80

Bank of Montreal, Montreal, QC, 1878-80
Notman & Sandham
1878-1880, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
10 x 8 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , commercial (1771) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

The networks set up by Montreal businessmen prior to 1850 continued to develop. Montreal wholesalers, who were increasingly differentiating themselves from retailers, served a huge clientèle of merchants established in small towns, villages and rural areas. Montreal banks grew in number and extended their branch networks. The Bank of Montreal was still the largest in the country, but other institutions, such as the Merchants Bank and Molson's Bank, were providing increasingly stiffer competition. Smaller in size, French-Canadian banks such as the Banque d'Hochelaga and the Banque Jacques-Cartier, nevertheless managed to win a share of the market.

  • What

    The head office building of the Bank of Montreal was constructed between 1845 and 1847; in 1859 further work was done to raise the height of the walls. The architectural design was based on that of the Commercial Bank in Edinburgh, Scotland.

  • Where

    The building sits on the north side of Place d'Armes, opposite Notre Dame Church and the St. Sulpice Seminary. Thus, this symbol of the economic power of the English bourgeoisie comes face-to-face with the symbol of the economic and religious power of the French Catholic Church.

  • When

    This picture was taken shortly after the severe economic depression of 1874 to 1878, which left many Montreal companies severely shaken.

  • Who

    The president of the Bank of Montreal at the time was George Stephen, later to become Lord Mount Stephen (1829-1921), a wealthy businessman who had emigrated from Scotland. A short time later he became president of Canadian Pacific Railway, a position he held throughout the period when the transcontinental line was being built.