Home / Accueil

Bank of Montreal

426 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/07/17

Primary elevation, from the north, of the Bank of Montreal, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Primary Elevation
Detail of the primary elevation of the Bank of Montreal, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism, and Sport, 2005
Contextual view, looking west, of the Bank of Montreal, Winnipeg, 2005. The bank is in the middle of the image.; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport , 2005
Contextual View

Other Name(s)

Bank of Montreal
Walsh and Company Building
Édifice de Walsh et Company

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1927/01/01 to 1927/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/08/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This small, elegant Neo-Classical branch office of the Bank of Montreal, constructed in 1927, is part of an important section of Portage Avenue, one of downtown Winnipeg's busiest thoroughfares. Set between two office buildings, the bank completes a streetscape that includes the massive Hudson's Bay Company Store at its western terminus. The City of Winnipeg's designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Bank of Montreal is an excellent example of small branch offices that large institutional banks had been constructing in Manitoba since the early 1900s. These buildings, often smaller versions of the huge bank buildings that were concentrated on a few blocks of Main Street in Winnipeg, were developed to take advantage of the growing suburbs and also of the personal banking sector. This building is a later example of the trend and reflects the Bank of Montreal's careful approach to its banking operations. Nevertheless, the building is typical in its adherence to the kind of grand, imposing and expensive architecture that banks of the day used to assure and inspire the public. The building is carried out in a severely rectilinear expression of the Beaux-Arts Classical style, designed by distinguished Montreal architect Kenneth G. Rea, whose many commissions for the Bank of Montreal produced a corporate identity for that institution. With its situation on Portage Avenue just east of the majestic Hudson's Bay Company Store, the bank also is part of an important group of notable buildings.

Source: City of Winnipeg City Council Meeting, July 17, 1989

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bank of Montreal site include:
- its location on the south side of Portage Avenue just east of the Hudson's Bay Company Store
- the similarities in design, cladding and alignment with adjacent structures from the same period

Key exterior elements that define the bank's severe Beaux-Arts Classical style include:
- the basic box shape, flat roof and broad main (north) facade, symmetrically composed, with the classical Greek temple-like section projecting slightly to the street
- the simple, crisply composed and detailed temple element, featuring four tall Corinthian pilasters (the two outermost ones also with shadowing pilasters behind) supporting an entablature and pediment, all carried out in smoothly cut Manitoba limestone cladding
- the rectilinear openings, including tall two-storey windows in each side bay and a large window above the entrance, all with carved stone sills, and the large main entrance with a heavy surrounding frame

Key internal elements that define the bank's Beaux-Arts Classical style include:
- the impressive height of the banking hall, slightly angled at the front to meet the street, with the deeply coffered ceiling visible especially in the northern half of the building
- the wall features, including evenly spaced pilaster elements, made distinct with modest shadowing projections, fluting, Ionic capitals and framed elements that extend to the ceiling, and the encircling cornice above the capital level
- the enclosed one-storey entrance vestibule with modest framing pilasters and cornice
- the heavily worked wooden wainscotting features along the east wall on the main floor

Key elements that define the building's original banking function, outside and in, include:
- the words 'BANK OF MONTREAL' carved into the entablature and the bank's richly embellished crest, carved in stone, set above the main entrance
- inside, the two massive metal doors and frame constructed by the Diebold Safe and Lock Co. located at the back (south, on the main floor)




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


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

Architect / Designer

Kenneth G. Rea



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places