Description of Historic Place
The Old Bank of Montreal, completed in 1902, with its grand architectural character, is a distinctive presence on Carberry's Main Street, and the focal point in the Historic Downtown Carberry heritage district. The municipal designation applies to the building on its tight urban site.
The Old Bank of Montreal is Carberry's most important building, a landmark and visible manifestation of local pride, and also the most architecturally impressive building from the community's pioneering period (in a town that has a number of notable early buildings). As a Bank of Montreal (originally built as a Union Bank), the building also holds an important place in the history of Manitoba bank buildings - the Carberry enterprise being the largest and most ambitious in its architecture and functions of any bank building constructed in Manitoba's small urban centres. Where other bank operations provided smaller communities with standardized Classical temple fronts carried out in wood (like the Bank of Commerce), or small but interesting masonry renderings (like the Northern Bank), in Carberry the Union Bank commissioned from Winnipeg architect George Browne a dramatic, even innovative program, that brought together an array of functions (main-floor banking hall, basement office spaces, second floor residential quarters (for the manager and his family) and third floor dance hall used to entertain local notables), within a major building with a complex, appealing external character and a well-appointed, technologically up-to-date interior. Both of these values (community landmark and significant Manitoba bank building) are together expressed in the main facade, a handsome exploration of Classical Revival character, and also in the building's less visible elevations and some features and elements still present within.
Source: Town of Carberry By-law No. 5/2006, June 12, 2007
Key elements that define the heritage site character of the Old Bank of Montreal include:
- the placement of the building, mid-block, on the west side of Main Street, in the second (southerly) block of the Historic Downtown Carberry heritage district;
- the placement of the building on a tight urban site with the main facade flush to the sidewalk but also with alleyways on either side (south and north) and thus also with views of those two elevations.
Key elements that define the building's landmark quality and distinctive Classical Revival-style exterior include:
- the bulky 2 ½ storey height, visible from a distance, and rising above neighbouring buildings, mostly of one- and two-storey heights;
- the elegant colour treatment, of soft grey limestone, bright red brick and crisp white details and trim
- the masonry construction, with Manitoba limestone forming the tall foundation and extended up to distinguish the main entrance, and red brick on all walls (the main elevation of imported brick and other walls of local Sidney brick);
- the huge hipped roof shape enlivened with two elaborately detailed brick chimneys and front-facing dormer windows with pedimented caps;
- the main (east) facade, an impressive composition of careful symmetry, distinguished by three bays, the flanking ones with large arched windows into the main floor, paired windows above and single windows in the dormers, and the central bay projecting and holding major architectural elements, including the large-arched main door, bay window with canopy roof above and the broad-arched opening into the dance hall of the top floor, the whole bay topped with a pediment;
- the wealth of features and details, including the impressive encircling white-painted cornice above the second-floor line, the brick treatment featuring radiating voussoirs around main-floor arches (and also with limestone keystones) and accompanying brick banding elements, quoins on the central bay, a low limestone balustrade in front of the bay window, etc.;
- the more informal treatment of the other three elevations, in particular the north face featuring arched windows into the banking hall, the manager's family entrance at the northwest corner, tall rectangular windows in the second floor, etc.
Key interior elements that define the building's remaining banking, residential and recreational character include:
- the formal configuration of spaces on the main floor defining the banking hall and manager's office;
- the more informal configuration of spaces on the second floor defining the manager's family quarters;
- the unobstructed quality of space of the top-floor dance hall;
- the features and details that remain from the banking functions, including hardwood floors, window and door casings, decorative metal panels on the ceiling, etc.