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|Image courtesy of the Bank of Montreal.|
The first Bank of Montreal branch opened in Winnipeg in 1877, housed in rented premises at Broadway and Main. The location would later change as corporate directors decided a space in the main business district would better attract new clients.
|The Bank of Montreal and new Federal Building. Image courtesy of the Heritage Winnipeg Gary Becker Collection Item 841C Negative ID|
|Construction of the Bank of Montreal, 335 Main Street ca. 1912. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba N901.|
When the building was completed and the bank opened in 1913, the media's enthusiasm had already ensured its success. Designed to resemble a Roman temple, the estimated cost of construction was $1,295,000. Each of the six Corinthian columns that dominated the entrance were nearly five feet in diameter and weigh twelve tons, rising 50 feet above street level.
|Bank of Montreal ca. 1913. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba.|
The new structure at Portage and Main epitomized early 20th century Bank of Montreal architecture. Starkly conservative, but neoclassical in their unadorned stone or brickwork, the facades of branches across the country bear a striking resemblance to one another, particularly in the larger cities. The common style consists of massive columns crowned by substantial entablatures and pediments. Decoration is avoided, with the exception of the inscribed name of the institution and perhaps a coat-of-arms.
|Archival photo of the Bank of Commerce at 389 Main Street, built in 1911. It is now called the Millennium Centre.|
|The Royal Trust Company at 436 Main Street. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report.|
The top two stories were reserved for officer living quarters. The third floor had a dining room and lounge facilities including food storage and kitchen space for hired help to cater to management needs. Bank officials slept on the fourth floor in a long row of bedrooms. Each bedroom boasted a sitting room and clothes closet, with bathrooms dispersed at intervals throughout the floor. An attic above the fourth floor provided extensive storage space, all to ensure bank officials new to Winnipeg would suffer no inconveniences.
|The interior shortly after opening ca. 1913. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba.|
|The memorial at the front of the building, as depicted in a Bank of Montreal brochure.|
|A more recent photo of the sculpture. Image courtesy of the Manitoba Historical Society website.|
Built with structural integrity and longevity in mind, the building at 335 Main required few upgrades until the late 1940s, when a new lighting system was installed. The early 1950s brought more changes, with the fourth floor living quarters replaced by general offices and new glass screens to replace the bronze tellers' cages. Larger front windows were installed, followed by air conditioning and mezzanine renovations.
|Bank of Montreal ca. 1938. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba.|
|Renovations of the bank over the years. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and City of Winnipeg City Assessment Records, Ward 1, Property Code 43, Roll Number 938230 - Bank of Montreal.|
|The tower and bank, as depicted in a Bank of Montreal brochure.|
|Heritage Winnipeg's Annual Preservation Awards hosted by the Bank of Montreal in 1982.|
Sources & LinksBank of Montreal website - a History of the Institution
City of Winnipeg Historical Report - Long
City of Winnipeg Historical Report - Short
Manitoba Historical Society - Bank of Montreal
Manitoba Historical Society - Bank of Montreal War Monument
Wikipedia on McKim, Mead, & White
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