Description of Historic Place
This building originally was the location of the Bank of New Brunswick in Summerside. It survives as a compact one-storey red brick and greystone building on the south side of Water Street. Its brick pilasters rise to a dentilated entablature which carries around the northeast corner at the top of the building. Although no longer a bank, it is located immediately east of the present day Bank of Nova Scotia at the traffic lights where Summer Street meets Water. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The compact brick building at 268 Water Street has been the location of four separate banks in Summerside and has earned a solid place in the historical streetscape of the main thoroughfare of the town. It contributes further heritage value to the streetscape as an example of Edwardian Commercial architecture.
The Bank of New Brunswick was the original owner of the building. In December 1908 the lot was acquired and by June 1909 the plans were begun. The front of the building was constructed with two large plate glass windows and trimmed with carved greystone. Three small windows were placed high up on the south wall to allow natural light to enter. The layout consisted of a vestibule, manager's office, teller's area, accounting office, stationery room and lavatory.
The workers on the project represented the principal tradesmen at the time. In addition to the labourers from M.F. Schurman Company, W.P. Doull installed the electrical fittings, Thomas Johnston did the plumbing, Hedley Brehaut the plastering, and F.G. Blizzard the masonry. Local architect, George E. Baker, was hired to inspect the work.
In 1913, the Bank of Nova Scotia absorbed the Bank of New Brunswick. It had operated a branch in Summerside since 1883 when it had taken over the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island. In 1949, the Bank of Nova Scotia built larger quarters on the adjoining lot to the west and vacated and sold this older building.
Under the ownership of Colonel Ernest H. Strong, the small building was rented to the Royal Bank, who needed a temporary location while its new branch building was being erected on the north side of Water Street. After the Royal Bank staff moved out, Mr. Strong found another tenant, this time the Provincial Bank of Canada. In April 1952, the branch signed a ten-year lease for the building, which included all bank furnishings. The lease was renewed in 1962 and ten years later, the Provincial Bank relocated to 246 Water Street.
The solid little building, which has been used by four different banks, was purchased in 1973 by a local lawyer who named it the Professional Arts Centre and built a second level accessed by a stairway inside the front door. The main level was used as a legal office and the second floor was used from 1973 to 1979 as the dental office of Dr. J.A. Doiron and from 1980 to 1986 by the PEI Lending Authority. The premises served as the office of the Bank of Montreal (BMO) Nesbitt Burns from 2001 to 2005. The Summerside Regional Development Corporation became the owner of the property in 2007.
This former bank is an example of Edwardian Commercial architecture in Summerside. Small at only 27 by 51 feet and dwarfed somewhat by the larger edifices nearby, it remains relatively well preserved. Some elements such as the windows and the door have been altered, but their locations have not. In the original construction, all wooden elements were covered with galvanized iron and painted and sanded. Elements that have changed over the years include lowering of the 13 foot ceiling of the original bank and the altering of the size of the original 5 by 12 foot windows.
The building continues to contribute to its streetscape.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The character-defining elements of this building include:
- the one-storey massing and form of this rectangular flat roofed brick and greystone building with concrete foundation
- the window and door placement; with doorway featuring stone entablature, carved cap and door surround, including openings on south and west facades
- the pilasters evenly spaced on the north elevation which go around the northeast corner, rising from the window sill which sits on the stone courses that rise from the street
- the elaborate Corinthian style carved stone caps which meet the cornice of the pilasters
- the stone lintels over the windows
- the dentils around the entablature
- the continuing contribution of the building to its streetscape