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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Royal Bank is a two-storey wood-frame commercial building that stands in a grouping of similar small-scale commercial buildings along Clarke Street, the original commercial and retail centre of Port Moody.
The heritage value of the Royal Bank is associated with the early twentieth century development of downtown Port Moody, the city's original town centre. The consistent and distinctive built form of the area dates from the time when Port Moody was developing rapidly as a mill town and Clarke Street was its commercial centre. This building is a landmark component of the Clarke Street historic grouping.
This site is also significant for its association with the Royal Bank of Canada, which has had a continuous presence in Port Moody since 1907. With the establishment of the Emerson sawmill and the J. McLean shingle mill in 1906, the once-stagnant settlement started to grow. The Royal Bank was the first bank to locate a branch in Port Moody, and it opened in leased premises on Clarke Street on June 12, 1907. In 1914, the bank purchased a nearby property, and constructed this new, larger structure. Investment in a larger, permanent bank structure within seven years of opening indicates the bank's confidence in the potential of the city during the time of the great western Canadian economic boom.
Additionally, the Royal Bank is valued as an important intact example of the type of bank architecture that predominated in western Canada during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawn up at bank head offices, these designs could be quickly, easily and inexpensively executed across the country in emerging communities. As was common in those days, the Royal Bank included a suite of rooms on the second floor, which were used as living quarters by branch staff. The building's architecture reflects the optimism, growth and confidence of this boom period.
Furthermore, the history of this site demonstrates the growth of Port Moody and the evolution of transportation patterns after the Second World War. In 1956, the Royal Bank relocated to newly constructed premises on St. Johns Street, indicating the diminishing importance of the railway and the growing significance of automobile traffic in the delivery of goods and services. St. Johns Street, one block south of the original commercial core on Clarke Street, developed as a throughway that connected Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam to the west, and the rest of the Fraser Valley to the east, therefore businesses formerly concentrated on Clarke Street relocated in response. Since 1956, this building has been used for general commercial purposes.
Source: City of Port Moody Heritage Planning Files
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Royal Bank include its:
- prominent location within the historic commercial core on Clarke Street, adjacent to the rail line, amongst other structures of similar form and scale;
- minimal setback from the street on a north sloping site;
- commercial form, scale and massing as expressed by the rectangular plan and two-storey plus basement height;
- hipped roof;
- entry to the banking hall offset to west side of the front facade, with separate entry to the upper floor on the east facade;
- construction material, including wood-frame construction, clad with wooden drop siding with corner boards on the first storey, bellcast cedar shingle cladding on the upper storey and board-formed concrete foundation walls;
- irregular fenestration, including double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows on the second storey with upper sash of smaller proportions, casement windows with transoms on the first floor and a triple assembly casement window on the first storey front facade;
- lower edge of the second floor bellcast walls built flush with the ground floor walls, indicating thicker than normal construction of the banking hall walls;
- metal fire escape on the west facade;
- internal brick chimney; and
- original interior features such as the bank vault in the ground floor banking hall, and intact second floor layout with fir floors, original mouldings and baseboards.
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Bank or Stock Exchange
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Port Moody Heritage Planning Files
Cross-Reference to Collection