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Farmers' Bank of Rustico National Historic Site of Canada

South Rustico, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1959/05/25

General view of Farmers' Bank of Rustico showing the solid, two-and-a-half-storey massing under a medium-pitch gable roof.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
General view of Farmers' Bank of Rustico showing the building’s location amongst a cluster of buildings near the church of St. Augustine.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
General view of Farmers' Bank of Rustico showing the regularly coursed sandstone construction.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view

Other Name(s)

Farmers' Bank of Rustico National Historic Site of Canada
Farmers' Bank of Rustico
Banque des fermiers de Rustico
Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Museum
Musée de la Banque des fermiers de Rustico

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1861/01/01 to 1863/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located in the small hamlet of Rustico on Prince Edward Island, the Farmers’ Bank of South Rustico National Historic Site of Canada is a modestly sized, ruggedly simple, stone building in the British classical tradition. Seven bays wide, with two-and-a-half storeys, the bank stands adjacent to a church and alongside a road to the water’s edge. The building is now operated as a museum. Official recognition refers to the interior and exterior of the building.

Heritage Value

The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1959 because, under the leadership of the parish priest Georges Antoine Belcourt, this building was erected to house one of the first people’s banks in Canada.

The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico illustrates an important stage in the evolution of co-operative banking in the 19th century in Canada. Father G. A. Belcourt led the parishioners who constructed the bank building between 1861 and 1863. Chartered in 1864, and directed by farmers and fishermen, it operated until 1894, and heralded the development of the credit union movement. The bank provided cheap credit and small loans allowing members of this predominantly Acadian farming community to purchase lands, make improvements, and gain economic independence.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1959; February 1970.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the building’s location amongst a cluster of buildings near the church of St. Augustine;
- the rural setting surrounded by agricultural land;
- the regularly coursed sandstone construction;
- the solid, two-and-a-half-storey massing under a medium-pitch gable roof;
- the seven-bay façade with central entrance, and regularly placed windows;
- the multi-pane, sash windows;
- the square vault projecting from the west wall;
- the overall unadorned appearance, with minimal exterior details that include stringcourses, eaves set close to the walls, and windows without mouldings;
- surviving evidence of its original interior functional design and interior features, notably its wooden posts and small fireplaces.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1959/05/25

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange
Education
Composite School

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

585

Status

Published

Related Places

North and west elevations

Farmers' Bank of Rustico

The Farmers' Bank of Rustico is a two-and-one-half storey Prince Edward Island sandstone building with a slate roof in the British Classical architectural style.

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